Wednesday, October 08, 2003
It seems that I have been unfair in suggesting that the two absent Tories are still at their Conference in Blackpool. Alun Cairns, who is often very vocal about Minister's joy rides abroad, is in fact in Bangladesh with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He is accompanied by at least one Labour AM. I am not going to deride the value of these trips but I do feel that going on them in term time does not do the Assembly any favours in terms of winning public support. Equally, when the Labour group have such a narrow majority, should the opposition be helping them so much in conducting business as usual by pairing off in this way? After all Labour have hardly been models of co-operation and enlightenment in reducing Committee meetings and using every trick in the book to cut back the scrutiny of Ministers. Another CPA trip is planned this term to Canada and I understand that a Plaid Cymru member will be going, thus releasing a Labour AM to attend too. By all means go on trips in the recess, but this just smacks of the abdication of all responsibility to be an effective opposition.