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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Missing Link

It should have been the perfect day.

The opposition had voted down the Business Statement yesterday so as to force the First Minister to come to the chamber and explain how the new Government of Wales Act will work in relation to primary legislation.

Their concern had arisen following comments from the Secretary of State for Wales that he will effectively block Orders in Council that allow the Assembly to do things he does not like. The example he gave was a Bill to introduce fair voting for local Council elections.

Today the Government had to bring back an amended Business Statement that in theory accommodates the opposition's concerns. However, they did not do so and as the three opposition parties had the numbers they wanted to press the point by rejecting the Business Statement again.

As debate got underway it was noticed that Conservative AM, Jonathan Morgan was not present. The bell was rung in the hope that the missing politician would reappear. He did not do so and the government won the vote.

This raises one very important question: If the Conservatives cannot get their members into the chamber for votes like this how can they hope to sustain any sort of government, Tory-led or otherwise? They have not got the group discipline for opposition never mind government.

Update: As if to compound the Conservative's loss of credibility, when it came to voting on the cross-opposition party motion to halt the current partial reconfiguration process so as to produce new guidance for Local Health Boards and Health Trusts on consultation and on the needs of local communities, only four Tories were present in the chamber to vote. Seven of their AMs were missing.

So much for their claim to be leading the defence of the Welsh NHS.
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