A SENIOR Tory county councillor has backed Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay who is facing a probe over whether he was drunk in the Senedd.

Bob Greenland, deputy leader of Monmouthshire council, said Mr Ramsay has been ill, causing him to miss plenary the week before.

Yesterday Nick Ramsay declined to speak to the Argus, saying he didn’t want to pre-empt the Assembly probe sparked by the claims.

Presiding officer Rosemary Butler is investigating a complaint that Mr Ramsay appeared drunk during an Assembly debate on mental health issues.

But Councillor Greenland said: “Nick certainly has my support.

“I’m aware that Nick has actually been ill – he wasn’t in plenary the previous week.”

Cllr Greenland said he had been told that Mr Ramsay has been suffering with mouth ulcers – which he thought could cause someone to slur.

“Nick is a very competent Assembly member... one needs to hear the other side of the story before coming to a conclusion,” the councillor said.

He added he believed that the accusation was that he was drunk was wrong, adding: “One needs to wait and see what he says.”

Barrie O’Keffe, chairman of the Monmouth Conservative Association, declined to comment on the issue yesterday.

He said: “In view of the fact that there is to be a presiding officer’s enquiry into the allegations against Mr Ramsay, the Monmouth Conservative Association will not be making any comment until that enquiry reports with its findings”.

The probe by the presiding officer into whether Nick Ramsay was drunk during an Assembly debate was sparked by a letter from Jonathan Williams, of Whitchurch, Cardiff.

He wrote: “The Assembly member for Monmouth is in a privileged position to serve his constituents, but to appear in the chamber unsteady on his feet and clearly drunk is unforgivable.”

Nick Ramsay has yet to speak to the Argus directly on the story – although reports have suggested that he has denied being drunk in the chamber.

A worker from Nick Ramsay’s Assembly office yesterday said that Mr Ramsay was aware of the allegations.

“He doesn’t want to comment and pre-empt the proper Assembly procedure which is currently under way,” she added.