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Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Yesterday was the day of the budget and every Assembly Member was there. It seemed reasonable therefore that the opposition might use this opportunity to influence Government business for the next three weeks by voting down the Business Statement. In this instance the opposition business managers concentrated on trying to force the Government to bring forward the date that we will debate the local government settlement until before Christmas.

When it came to the vote however the opposition's 30-29 advantage had turned into a 30-28 Government majority. In his blog last night Alun Cairns owns up to pressing the wrong button. Like the Health Minister in the debate on an inquiry into the Ambulance Service earlier this year Alun had a momentary lapse of concentration and allowed his finger to stray. It goes to show that those who mock the loudest often find their scorn back-firing on them.

Maths are not my strongest subject but even with Alun's miscue the vote should still have been a 29-29 tie. The only thing I can think of then is that another member of the opposition failed to vote altogether. I will report more when the record of proceedings is available, however in the meantime I will offer a small piece of advice to Alun Cairns: if you switch your mobile off whilst you are in the chamber you will find it easier to concentrate.

Update: It was Eleanor Burnham who failed to vote.
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