.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

High noon

An interesting stand-off is developing in the Welsh Assembly that will come to a head on Wednesday. On that day we are due to debate the report of the Committee set up to scrutinise the Government of Wales Bill.

That committee was politically balanced, containing five Labour members and five members of the opposition. It was chaired by the Presiding Officer who made an early decision to abstain from voting. As a result all of the opposition's amendments were defeated on the casting vote of the chair in accordance with Assembly procedures.

When the report comes to Plenary tomorrow all of those amendments will be up for discussion again. What is more the opposition will be at full strength and so will be able to vote them through. The big question though is who is going to chair the Plenary session?

I am told that as he chaired the Committee the Presiding Officer intends to move the report. Accordingly, he will not be in the big seat. The Deputy Presiding Officer has tabled his own amendments and I understand also intends to speak in support of them. The Opposition leaders have determined that none of their members will stand in for the duo and I cannot see the Labour Party providing an alternative chair either.

It is perfectly possible of course that an amicable resolution to this dilemma will have been found by the time that the debate is due to start. If that proves impossible then the session may well have to be suspended indefinitely until a chair is found. With the protagonists in their present mood that could be some time away.

Update: I am told that the Presiding Officer will now be chairing the debate and that he may move the report from the chair.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?