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Friday, September 14, 2007

Minister or not?

Rhodri Morgan has conducted a joint interview with his Counsel General and 'favoured' successor, Carwyn Jones, to defend charges that he is in breach of the second Government of Wales Act by combining the legal role with that of Leader of the House.

My view is that there is a clear breach of the spirit of the Act but that they have most probably done enough to have satisfied the letter of the law. Even so, one is left with the impression that this government is prepared to discard some of the peripheral constraints that are in place on the way that they exercise power if these barriers get in the way of political objectives.

I am expecting the first Plenary to be dominated by points of orders and requested rulings on this position after which I hope that we move on. Important as this constitutional matter is, we have other work to do that is higher up people's agenda including trying to resolve the issue of affordable housing, dealing with a foot and mouth outbreak and making sure that the health service is accessible to people and fit for purpose. I cannot wait to get back into the chamber.
Looking at what was said... I wonder if Jane Hutt was drawing a Minister's salary from 25 May to 19 July 2007 while she had responsibility for business? I expect she was :>D

As for the option of choosing a politician who is also a barrister for the position of Counsel General (with Carwyn's legal experience), is a bit like choosing a geography teacher to teach history, just because they happen to be a teacher.

Also, up until very recently the WAG Internet site still described Carwyn as also the Minister for Business. Nice to know that they've got their finger on the pulse.

Surely this should have been nipped in the bud by WAG when it was first discussed by others and makes you wonder whether they have been receiving bad advice by staff in Constitutional Affairs and other such teams with 'expert' knowledge of the GOWA.
It is not the Minster for Business post that is the issue, but that of Counsel General. It was and still in perfectly in order to combine the business job with any number of other responsibilities. What is new (and this did not apply before 2007) is that the post of Counsel General is now a Cabinet level post but it explicitly says in the Act that he or she cannot be a Minister and cannot carry out Ministerial duties.
Thanks for that Peter. I am well aware of this, just decided to look at it in another way as an awful lot has already been said about one person holding the dual role.
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