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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Shuffling the deckchairs

Halfway into the campaign and there were quite a few seats vacant on the opposition benches in Plenary yesterday. At least one of the three Tory Parliamentary candidates, David Davies, made an appearance but there was no sign of the other three. To be fair to David, he did not just come along to be counted. He made a contribution in First Minister's question time and spoke on school dinners. He has given his apologies for Education Committee this morning however.

The first thing we noticed on entering the chamber was that a new seating plan had been circulated. Although he was not present, for obvious health reasons, Peter Law has now been removed from the Labour benches and plonked in the back row on the opposition side behind a pillar. This is not a deliberate slight. The seat that Peter will occupy when he returns is that used by the Presiding Officer on the very rare times he joins in a Plenary debate. Dafydd Elis-Thomas will now sit in Peter Law's old seat if and when he decides that he needs to participate in a discussion.

As if to twist the knife into Wales Labour this morning the Western Mail highlighted the fact that dozens of Labour activists in Blaenau Gwent are facing expulsion for supporting Peter Law's campaign. Eighteen of them have been listed as supporters on Peter's election literature. Amongst these people are four former Mayoresses and some very long serving Councillors. The article illustrates better than anything I can say how deep the divisions run in this Labour stronghold and how, when comrades fall out, they do so with vigour.
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