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  1. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services
  2. Questions to the Leader of the House
  3. Questions to the Assembly Commission
  4. Debate on the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee report: UK governance post Brexit
  5. Welsh Conservatives debate - Ministerial reshuffle: the Permanent Secretary's report
  6. Plaid Cymru debate - Broadcasting
  7. Plaid Cymru debate - Continued membership of the Customs Union

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK


That brings today's proceedings in the Siambr to a close.

Senedd Live returns on Tuesday 6 March.

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Welsh Government defeated in vote

Labour AMs abstain in the leak inquiry vote. A number of Labour assembly members are absent today which means they would have risked losing the vote if they decided to oppose the motion in the vote, which is not binding for the government.

So the National Assembly asserts its desire for:

the Welsh Government’s Permanent Secretary to publish, with appropriate redactions to ensure anonymity of witnesses, the report into her investigation on “whether there is any evidence of a prior unauthorised sharing of information – i.e. a “leak” - by the Welsh Government of information relating to the recent Ministerial reshuffle”, as described in recent media reports.


'Greatest possible integration with economies of our nearest neighbours'

Economy Secretary Ken Skates reiterates support "for Wales and the United Kingdom’s continued participation in the Single Market and in a Customs Union with the EU, in order to provide the greatest possible integration with the economies of our nearest neighbours compatible with no longer being a member-state within the EU."

Ken Skates

'Customs requirements as friction-less as possible'

On behalf of the Conservatives, Mark Isherwood calls on AMs to "support Wales and the United Kingdom’s agreement of a new customs arrangement between the UK and the EU, with customs requirements that are as friction-less as possible; building a new, economic and security relationship with the EU whilst enabling the UK to enter new trade agreements internationally."

Plaid Cymru debate

The second Plaid Cymru debate is on continued membership of the Customs Union.

Plaid Cymru proposes that the National Assembly for Wales: "Supports Wales and the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the current EU customs union, as opposed to a new customs union".

Leanne Wood

'Now is not the time to seek devolution of any powers over broadcasting'

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas says it remains his personal view, and his view as a minister, that now is not the time to seek the devolution of any powers over broadcasting.

He presents the government's amendment, to delete points 5 and 6 and replace with:

  • Notes that the publication by Departure of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the independent review of S4C being undertaken by Euryn Ogwen Williams is still awaited.
  • Calls on the UK Government and broadcasters to ensure that both Welsh and English language broadcasting in Wales is funded adequately.
  • Recognises that the public service broadcasters should be fully accountable to all national parliaments of the United Kingdom, as appropriate to their remit.

Responding to the minister Sian Gwenllian asks "Where is the Dafydd El we remember, where has he gone?"

"I’m sitting here!" he replies, off-mic.

Lord Elis-Thomas

'Wouldn’t solve any perceived under-funding'

Conservative AM Suzy Davies says transferring statutory responsibility for S4C from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to the Welsh Government wouldn’t solve any perceived under-funding, but simply lead to another government saying their offer to S4C was sufficient.

She says she doesn’t think devolving broadcasting would help people understand a devolved Wales, and that she doesn’t agree that the lack of Welsh political knowledge among the public is down to broadcasters misleading viewers or misrepresenting events.

'Not asking for bilingual Daleks'

Plaid Cymru's Dai Lloyd says, "We are all pleased that Doctor Who is produced here in Wales. But actually, looking at the content, it could be produced anywhere. I am not asking for bilingual Daleks or anything, but just a mention of Wales would be handy."

UKIP's Gareth Bennett picks up on that point: "Doctor Who - we could have bilingual road signs in Doctor Who. But we are not going to go there. They go to planet Mars. It's not supposed to be set in Wales."


'Restricting political debates and democracy'

Sian Gwenllian says a lack of plurality and cuts in broadcasting hours are "restricting political debates and therefore restricting democracy”.

She tells AMs that she wants them to reach a consensus today in favour of at least researching the practicalities of devolving broadcasting over the next year.

'Importance of broadcasting to sustainability of viable democracy'

Plaid Cymru have taken the decision to split the hour allocated into two half hour debates.

The first of their debates is on broadcasting. proposing that the National Assembly for Wales:

"1. Recognises the importance of broadcasting to the sustainability of viable democracy in Wales;

2. Is concerned by the significant decline in ITV Wales's broadcasting hours, and significant cuts to S4C and its current uncertain financial position;

3. Is also concerned about the position of Welsh-language and Welsh broadcasting on commercial radio and local television, along with the impact of the UK Government's proposals to further regulate the radio market;

4. Notes that Wales needs to be at the forefront of the development of media technologies and that Welsh-language and Welsh broadcasting needs to be on a broader number of platforms and modes of producing, publishing and distributing content;

5. Agrees that full consideration needs to be given to the devolution of responsibilities for broadcasting to Wales;

6. Calls on the Welsh Government to investigate the feasibility of devolving powers over broadcasting to Wales and to report back to the Assembly within one year."

'Publication could prejudice future leak inquiries'

Responding to the debate, Leader of the House Julie James says publication could prejudice future leak inquiries.

She says with the "additional element of ongoing inquiries, there is the further potential risks to the integrity of the process".

She adds the leak inquiry report will be made available to the QC looking into the circumstances of Carl Sargeant's sacking.

Voting on the motion will be held at the end of plenary.

'Incredible discourtesy to the assembly'

Conservative Darren Millar says it would be "incredible discourtesy to the assembly not to see the redacted report".

He says publication is the only way there can be full confidence in the process.

Darren Millar

Text message saying Carl Sargeant was to be dismissed 'gossip'

Labour AM Lee Waters begins "I never wanted to have a role in this story".

He says he is certain a text message he received saying Carl Sargeant was to be dismissed before Mr Sargeant himself was informed, was "gossip".

He adds, "there have been calls for me to say who sent me the text message.

"And I have not done, and will not do so, because I don't wish to contribute to a trail of breadcrumbs which can lead to the identification of any of the people who came forward."

Lee Waters

'Secrecy is the shield of injustice'

"I don't know how anybody in good conscious could oppose this motion," says UKIP leader Neil Hamilton.

"Secrecy is the shield of injustice," he adds.

Neil Hamilton

'Findings of reshuffle leak inquiry a matter of public interest'

Plaid Cymru's Llyr Gruffydd says the motion sets out an important principle that the findings of the reshuffle leak inquiry are a matter of public interest and should therefore be released with appropriate redactions.

He says Plaid Cymru has argued all along for maximum transparency and accountability when it comes to dealing with any allegations made against members of the Assembly or Government.

Llyr Gruffydd

'Pretty reasonable request' to have sight of report

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies says it is the duty of the assembly to scrutinise the government, and that it is a "pretty reasonable request" to have sight of this report.

He accepts the need for "suitable redactions" to protect individuals who have requested confidentiality.

He urges members across the political divide to support the motion.

Andrew RT Davies

Welsh Conservatives debate

The topic chosen by the Welsh Conservatives for their debate is the Permanent Secretary's report on the ministerial reshuffle.

The inquiry looked into whether the decision to sack the former minister Carl Sargeant was leaked. His body was found a few days later. It is thought he took his own life.

The Conservatives are calling for the details of the leak inquiry to be published.

The inquiry found "no evidence of prior unauthorised sharing of information" but the details have been kept private to protect the identity of those who gave evidence.

It was one of three inquiries ordered by the Welsh Government following the death of the Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant last year.
It was one of three inquiries ordered by the Welsh Government following the death of the Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant last year.

Welsh Government accepts recommendations

Counsel General Jeremy Miles says the Welsh Government accepts the set of recommendations by the committee.

Jeremy Miles

'Inadvertent dominance of England'

David Melding, Welsh Conservative AM for South Wales Central, says "if we do nothing, there is a danger the greater role for UK governance... the inadvertent, I think, dominance of England could close some of the options and spaces for policy development in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland."

David Melding

'Speakers’ Conference needed'

Committee chair Mick Antoniw presents the report, which has nine recommendations.

One of the recommendations is that "the Llywydd seeks to establish with the other Speakers and Presiding Officers of UK legislatures, a Speakers’ Conference with the aim of determining how best to develop UK interparliamentary working, particularly as a means of scrutinising the impact of withdrawal from the European Union on the constitutional framework of the UK".

Mick Antoniw

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee report

The first debate of the day is on the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee report UK governance post Brexit.

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90 Second Statements

We now have the 90 Second Statements, which can be used to raise any subject of concern. For example, a Member may raise matters of pressing concern to their constituents, draw attention to local issues, mark anniversaries or significant dates, or pay a tribute.

No Topical Questions accepted

The Llywydd Elin Jones has not accepted any Topical Questions today.

Topical Questions must relate to a matter of national, regional or local significance where an expedited Ministerial response is desirable.

'Consider mix of assembly sound track'

Dai Lloyd says that when BBC 2 broadcasts proceedings, contributions in Welsh and the simultaneous translation are heard at the same time, which means the viewer can understand neither.

The Llywydd Elin Jones says it is good practice that both sound tracks can be heard so the viewer knows that a translation is in place, but she says she will look at the mix and balance of the sound track provided by the assembly.

Elin Jones

Bilingual broadcasting of Plenary proceedings

We move on to Questions to the Assembly Commission, the corporate body for the National Assembly for Wales.

Dai Lloyd raises the issue of bilingual broadcasting of Plenary proceedings.


Skilled computer scientists to protect digital infrastructure

UKIP's Caroline Jones calls on the Welsh Government to ensure that Wales has sufficient skilled computer scientists to protect digital infrastructure.

Julie James responds "we are actively ensuring we have good cyber security across the Welsh public estate".

Caroline Jones

Human rights to be maintained following Brexit?

Plaid Cymru's Sian Gwenllian seeks assurance that human rights will be maintained following Brexit.

Julie James says the Welsh Government is "utterly opposed to repeal of the Human Rights Act and utterly opposed to any withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights".

'Guarantee of at least 97% coverage for DAB needed'

Suzy Davies asks "what assessment has the Leader of the House made of the ability of Wales’s digital infrastructure to deal with digital radio usage in Wales?"

Julie James replies the Welsh Government "would not be in favour of digital switch-over for radio until there is a guarantee of at least 97% coverage for DAB throughout Wales".

Suzy Davies

Questions galore for Julie James

Julie James had a busy day in the Siambr yesterday, standing in at First Minister's Questions followed by the Business Statement.

She has no respite today, now taking Questions to the Leader of the House.

Julie James

'Anomaly and incongruity' in Welsh Government proposals

UKIP's Gareth Bennett says there's an "anomaly and incongruity" in Welsh Government proposals that 16 and 17 year olds should have the right to vote in local government and assembly elections, but cannot have body piercing or use a sunbed.

Mr Davies says "reaching age of maturity... may happen at slightly different age for different issues".

Gareth Bennett

Call for independent review of Armed Forces Covenant

Conservative Mark Isherwood calls on the Welsh Government to undertake an independent review of progress on the Armed Forces Covenant.

Alun Davies replies he's "very comfortable at the moment with the level of delivery" of the Armed Forces Covenant.

Mark Isherwood

'No mandatory regional working'

In the blog, Mr Davies says "Plaid’s spokesperson, Sian Gwenllian, asked me a question that momentarily left me like a goldfish gasping for breath. Sian asked me what would be my style as a minister."

Today, Mr Davies says a "more mature relationship is needed between different levels of government".

He says he has no intention of compelling local government to work on a regional basis.

Alun Davies

Local government reform: what has been achieved?

Plaid Cymru's Sian Gwenllian says she's read with interest the minister's blog - It’s time for a new relationship with local government.

She questions what has been achieved by the Welsh Government over the last four years in terms of local government reform.

Sian Gwenllian

Support for the voluntary sector

The first of the Oral Assembly Questions tabled is by Angela Burns: Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on support for the voluntary sector in Carmarthenshire?

Alun Davies replies that in the current financial year, £176,000 has been provided to Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services in core funding.

Angela Burns

Welcome to Senedd Live

Prynhawn da.

Plenary begins with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services Alun Davies.