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Thursday, July 19, 2007

First test

It is a big day politically with by-elections in both Sedgefield and Ealing Southall. It is also the first test of the Brown premiership.

I have blogged previously on the bizarre controversies that have arisen during the Southall election and also the usual Labour thuggishness in Sedgefield. Typically, fate deals one last card with allegations of possible electoral offences following the publication on a Daily Telegraph blog of voting calculations based on the postal votes.

Meanwhile talks continue on who will sit in the new Welsh Assembly Cabinet, with an announcement expected later today. The only thing we know for certain is that Huw Lewis has been sacked as a Deputy Minister.

Like Normal Mouth, I believe that this is a mistake on the part of Rhodri Morgan. It sends a signal about the sort of control freakery that will sit at the heart of this new government. Rhodri always did like getting his way, but I am not too sure that suppressing dissent within his own government is good for democracy either within the Labour Party or Wales as a whole.

Although I will not be at either of the Parliamentary by-elections, I will be particularly busy today in a crucial Swansea Council by-election in the safe Labour seat of Llansamlet.
How about being more concerned with things going on in Wales - what happened in Llansamlet?
Labour 769 36.9%
Carole Jones Welsh Lib Dem 581 27.9%
Plaid Cymru 283 13.6%
BNP 226 10.8%
Ind 221 10.6%

Labour hold Maj 188
Turnout 20.09%
Posted by Glyn Davies at 22.09 on 19th July and accidentally deleted:

"I really do agree with you about Huw Lewis. Huw is a passionate politician and the only way of preventing him expressing his genuine dislike of the coalition was to keep him in the tent. The Assembly Government will regret this - and Huw may well look back on it as being a good day in his political career."
Posted at 20.15 on 19th July and accidentally deleted:

"I'm intrigued by the bland description of Llansamlet as a safe Labour seat. Isn't this the multi-member ward where Labour dumped one of its sitting councillors just before the last election only for her to top the poll as an independent? Now her daughter is standing as a Lib Dem following the resignation by the self-destructive former council leader. Must be fun."
I agree that it does seem a little weird dropping Huw after only just putting him in; particularly when considering his position on the coalition.

What is I believe of more significance is the fact that 25% of the AMs are in the cabinet. How can primary legislation be adequately scrutinised under such circumstances?
Considering how much effort the BNP made in one of their so-called target wards, that is a very bad result for them.

Let's all rejoice!
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