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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Apology required?

Will Eleanor Burnham have to apologise to the Presiding Officer for using inappropriate language in the chamber?

Nine days ago the Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, Roger Williams, demanded that Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Wales Office, Nick Ainger, "cut through the crap" and ensure that Miners get the compensation that they deserve. Given the huge injustice being experienced by miners on this issue his emotive language was well-justified, however he was pulled up on it by the Speaker and later wrote a letter of apology about the way he conducted himself.

Yesterday in the chamber, the 'crap' word was evident again. This time it was Eleanor Burnham describing one of her infamous train journeys. Carl Sargeant was quick on the ball with a rather ungracious retort but how will the Presiding Officer view the incident when he looks through the record of proceedings?

Eleanor Burnham: Will you give way?

Carl Sargeant: Yes, in a minute; stop shouting. [Laughter.]

Delays cost money, and efficient transport links are a crucial factor in investment decisions. We need to bring Wales closer to existing potential markets through transport improvements, and to ensure a truly mobile workforce. However, all decisions relating to transport need to be more sensitive to the communities on which any construction will impact—I am refering in particular to the way in which the A55 and A494 trunk road impacts parts of my constituency.

Eleanor Burnham: How embarrassed would you have felt, as I did a few weeks ago with a Dutch businessman, when the crap rolling stock was in such bad repair that one loo was locked and the other one was blocked? What does that tell a businessman from Holland about transport in Wales?

Carl Sargeant: I am sure that the Dutch businessman was embarrassed to be travelling with you.

Later on in that debate Eleanor had another chance to put her point of view and rather got her metaphors mixed up:

Eleanor Burnham: Thank you for calling me to speak, even if is only for a short interjection.

It is notable that the tracking indicators for sustainable development in annex B are still in the development phase. The Welsh Liberal Democrats would like to see an indicator similar to that used in Scotland, where its Government publishes an annual index that divides carbon dioxide emissions as the equivalent mass of carbon by total gross value added. I believe that sustainable development is crucial to the future of Wales and its people, and a green jobs strategy is certainly crucial to enabling both those balls to stay in the air. Minister, where is your green jobs strategy?

For one moment I thought she was going to ask him where his green balls where?
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