Senedd Bites #40: Starting gun fired on Labour leadership contest

(Title Image: BBC Wales)

Welsh Labour leadership election officially underway

The contest to succeed Carwyn Jones as First Minister and leader of Labour in Wales has started after the First Minister informed the party’s National Executive Committee of his intention to resign in a letter sent last Wednesday (26th September).

The letter says the timetable for the election will lead to a result being announced on December 6th 2018. He will officially leave his post after the final First Minister’s Questions of 2018 on December 11th 2018, with the winner of the contest nominated as First Minister on December 12th.

Following the close of nominations on October 3rd, the ballot will be contested by:

  • Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford (Lab, Cardiff West)
  • Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething (Lab, Cardiff S. & Penarth)
  • Minister for Lifelong Learning & Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan (Lab, Mid & West Wales)

Former AM pleads guilty to indecent images offences

Former Plaid Cymru AM for Mid & West Wales, Simon Thomas, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court on October 3rd.

The full details of the charges are that he made (the definition of “making” meaning downloading or copying) 612 indecent images and videos of children, with 150 of those at the most serious Category A.

He was bailed to appear at Mold Magistrates Court on October 31st, was banned from unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16 and ordered to seize his passport. He was also warned that he could face a prison sentence.

First Minister: “Stop peddling Brexit myths”

The UK Government must stop “peddling myths” about Brexit to the Welsh electorate, according to the First Minister. He said:

“It is hugely irresponsible to force people to choose between a disastrous hard Brexit and a catastrophic ‘no deal’. Insisting the country is stuck between a rock and a hard place heightens tensions and causes confusion at a time when we need cool heads and conversations.”

He repeated calls for “full and unfettered” access to the EU single market and called for a withdrawal agreement that benefits the whole UK.

Prime Minister refuses to confirm who will control post-Brexit structural funds

There’s still no idea of how the post-Brexit replacement of EU structural funding will be controlled or delivered after the Prime Minister refused to confirm whether the Welsh Government or UK Government will have the responsibility.

She told BBC Wales ahead of the Conservative party conference, “I fully recognise the role that the Welsh Government has played and the role that the Welsh Government has played in decisions for Wales.

“But obviously as we look at the shared prosperity fund across the whole of the UK we want to ensure that we get the right structure and the right processes involved in that so that the money that is being spent is being spent as effectively as possible because it’s about delivering for people on the ground.”

Panel: Rethink needed of school days & paperwork

An independent panel has recommended a review of the school day, school holidays and the amount of administrative work in schools as teachers’ pay and working conditions was devolved to Wales on October 1st 2018.

The panel also recommended that individual teachers be given more freedom in the classroom and that rates of pay remain broadly in line with England.

The panel concluded that school days and holiday patterns have remained unchanged since the “factory age” and needed a re-think that was better suited to modern family and working life.

Consultation launched on banning circus wild animals

The Welsh Government have launched a consultation on a proposed law which will ban the use of wild animals in circuses in Wales, including travelling circuses.

Energy, Planning & Rural Affairs Secretary, Lesley Griffiths (Lab, Wrexham) said, “We want future generations of children and young people to develop respectful and responsible attitudes towards animals. I would urge everyone with an interest to give their views on our proposals and take part in the consultation.”

The consultation will remain open until 28th November 2018.

A bunch of MWP-ets?

Initial cross-party talks regarding a name change for the National Assembly (to Welsh Parliament) and the suffix of its members revealed AMs were concerned that the proposed suffix Member of the Welsh Parliament (MWP) would sound too much like “Muppet” – according to BBC Wales.

There were also worries that MWP, in Welsh, rhymes with “twp” (“stupid”) and “pwp” (“poop”).

A draft version of the first of two laws introducing electoral reforms to the Senedd and Wales is set to be introduced by the Llywydd, Elin Jones (Plaid, Ceredigion), next week.