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Summary

  1. Children, Young People and Education Committee
  2. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance
  3. Questions to the Leader of the House and Chief Whip
  4. Statement by the Counsel General: Law Derived from the European Union (Wales) Bill
  5. Questions to the Assembly Commission
  6. Topical Questions
  7. Debate on the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee report: How is the Welsh Government preparing for Brexit?
  8. Welsh Conservatives debate – The Permanent Secretary's investigation report
  9. Welsh Conservatives debate – A national school workforce plan
  10. United Kingdom Independence Party debate – The Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign
  11. Urgent Debate: UK air strikes in Syria
  12. Short Debate: Sepsis – The Chameleon

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK

Hwyl fawr

That brings a long day in the Senedd to a close.

Senedd Live returns on Tuesday 24 April.

Senedd
BBC

Short Debate

The topic chosen by Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire) for the Short Debate is "Sepsis – The Chameleon".

She addresses the issue of "what is sepsis, how do we recognise it, how do we treat it, and what can we do to save more lives?"

Sepsis
BBC

Motion to try to force publication of leak report fails

An attempt to force the publication of a report into whether the sacking of a minister who died days later was leaked before a cabinet reshuffle has failed.

26 vote for the Conservative motion, 1 AM abstains and 29 vote against.

Mr Sargeant, who was AM for Alyn and Deeside, was dismissed from his cabinet role by First Minister Carwyn Jones in November amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour, which he denied.

The leak inquiry was one of three ordered following the sacking and subsequent death of Mr Sargeant, who is thought to have taken his own life.

It found no "unauthorised" leaking of information on his sacking but its full details were withheld.

Vote
BBC

'International affairs and military action are non-devolved'

Leader of the House Julie James reiterates that "international affairs and decisions about whether to launch military action against another sovereign nation are non-devolved matters and should be debated in the Houses of Parliament".

'Assembly should condemn all military action in the Middle East'

David Rowlands says UKIP "completely condemns" the airstrikes, adding that the assembly should condemn all military action in the Middle East.

'Prime minister's proportional response'

Conservative Andrew RT Davies says the Welsh Conservative group "wholeheartedly supports the prime minister's proportional and decisive response".

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood leads Urgent Debate

We move on to the Urgent Debate on UK air strikes in Syria.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood leads the debate.

She addresses three central issues: the first minister's stance on the airstrikes; the material and financial cost; and redoubling efforts to offer a safe heaven to those dealing with the fallout.

She concludes, "the path to peace is never paved with the weapons of war".

Leanne Wood
BBC

'UK Government inaction to end the injustice'

Leader of the House Julie James criticises "UK Government inaction to end the injustice suffered by women affected by the changes to state pension laws".

WASPI women 'should not go into their latter years suffering'

"Something has gone wrong with the communication through this process," says Conservative Nick Ramsay, who adds he will pass on his concerns to the UK government because the WASPI women "should not go into their latter years suffering".

'Give them back their dues, their hope and their future'

Vikki Howells, Labour AM for the Cynon Valley, says the UK government has "a duty to make changes to put in place the transitional arrangements this current generation of women worked all their lives for, to give them back their dues, their hope and their future".

Vikky Howells
BBC

Successive governments introduced changes 'too fast, too haphazardly'

UKIPs Caroline Jones, who says she is one of the women unfairly effected, says the pension changes should have been made with "decades of notice".

Instead, she says, successive governments have introduced changes "too fast, too haphazardly".

Caroline Jones
BBC

UKIP debate

The topic chosen for the United Kingdom Independence Party debate is The Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign.

How did we get here?

The Conservative government passed the Pensions Act 1995 which would raise the state pension age for women from 60 to 65, over the period 2010-2020.

This would equalise it with men.

But then the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government passed another Act in 2011, which accelerated the timetable to 2018.

Also, the qualifying age for men and women was to be raised to 66 by October 2020.

So, the Waspi women say they have been hit hard - with significant changes imposed on them with a lack of notification.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign
Getty Images

'Attracting the best and brightest to teach in Wales'

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams outliness the work of the Welsh Government to "develop a high-quality education profession and attract the best and brightest to teach in Wales, including:

a) reformed and strengthened Initial Teacher Education;

b) targeted incentives for high quality graduates in priority subjects and Welsh-medium education;

c) an ongoing highly targeted digital recruitment campaign;

d) establishing the National Academy for Educational Leadership; and

e) establishing the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Advisory Board."

Kirsty Williams
BBC

50,000 working days a year are lost by teachers due to stress-related illness

Plaid Cymru's Llyr Gruffydd refers to National Education Union Cymru figures that show that over 50,000 working days a year are lost by teachers due to stress-related illness and that 33.6 per cent of school teachers that responded to the Education Workforce Council national education workforce survey intend to leave their profession in the next three years.

Welsh Conservatives debate

The topic of the second Welsh Conservatives debate today is a national school workforce plan.

The Conservatives say there is a "growing teacher recruitment crisis in maintained schools in Wales" and that there has been "insufficient Welsh Government action to address the causes of this to date".

Classroom
Thinkstock

'Duress'

Concluding the debate, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies says the counsel general was proposing to "set the first minister above the law". Accusing the Welsh Government of telling the presiding officer to stop the debate, he says: "No democracy can function under that level of duress." Urging Labour backbenches to back the motion he says if they did not, "morally you will be found wanting".

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'Not appropriate'

Jeremy Miles, who is a member of the cabinet, says there is a "longstanding practice” of non-disclosure of leak inquiry reports.

“Today’s motion is not in the Welsh Government’s view an appropriate mechanism for the resolution of this issue,” he says.

Jeremy Miles
BBC
Jeremy Miles

'Prejudicing confidentiality'

Mr Miles says he wants to avoid prejudicing confidentiality, and warns that witnesses might be deterred from co-operating with future inquiries. In the absence of agreement on how to proceed he says the government may ask a court to interpret the law.

'Seeking clarity'

Counsel General Jeremy Miles says the Welsh Government was "seeking clarity" and preferred to have done so before the debate had taken place. He urged members to vote against the motion, claiming it was outside the scope of the assembly's powers, relating to a report solely concerned with powers exercised by the first minister alone.

'I don't think he'd be in his job much longer'

Independent AM Neil McEvoy condemns First Minister Carwyn Jones for legal threats and challenges to stifle debate. The Welsh Government preferred to "do nothing on lobbyists, but intervene to try to stop open government from taking place".

"If the Welsh people were ever to see what goes on behind closed doors, I don't think he'd be in his job much longer," Mr McEvoy adds.

Neil McEvoy
BBC

Hamilton - shouldn't we be better than Westminster?

UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton says it was startling to read the leaked letter threatening the Llywydd with legal action.

“I don’t see why we can’t have in this assembly something like the system of reading documents and having discussions on privvy council terms, where we trust each other to do the decent thing,” says Mr Hamilton.

“Shouldn’t we aim to be better than those at Westminster,” says Mr Hamilton, in reference to comments by Lee Waters that Westminster governments do not disclose leak inquiry reports.

'Privileged position'

UKIP's Neil Hamilton urges support for the motion, saying the Government of Wales Act appeared to put the first minister into an "extraordinarily privileged position" suggesting he was uniquely excluded from the assembly's scrutiny.

'Extraordinary reprise of the 1640s'

UKIP leader Neil Hamilton says the threat of legal action to halt the debate was an "extraordinary reprise of the kind of action we saw in the House of Commons in the 1640s", referring to King Charles I's attempt to arrest members of parliament opposed to him, noting that the king was later executed.

Neil Hamilton
BBC

'Refusal to be bullied into submission'

Plaid Cymru AM Adam Price says there was a "personal tragedy" at the heart of the debate. Even a redacted report would allow us to glean more information than "these two brief paragraphs". He cites the principles of open government and accountability.

He quotes former US presidential candidate and campaigner Ralph Nader in saying parliaments have to remind governments that "information is the currency of democracy - its denial is always suspect".

Mr Price says the motion must be passed to show "our defiant refusal to be bullied into submission by an overweening executive".

Andrew RT Davies
BBC

'Morally right'

The government whip might deliver the vote to stop this motion, says Mr Davies, but it won't deliver what is "morally right" - the ability to have this report sitting alongside others.

Elin Jones - motion is in order

Presiding officer Elin Jones said at the start of the debate that the motion being debated - which if passed would force the publication for the leak inquiry report if passed through a vote - "is in order".

First Minister Carwyn Jones has said she is acting unlawfully in accepting the motion.

“First the motion is in order and the power of section 37 of the government of Wales is undoubtably wide," she says.

“That is why it can only be the result of a vote in this national assembly.

“I expect members to continue to approach the use of section 37 proportionately and reasonably.”

Elin Jones
BBC
Elin Jones

'No witch-hunt'

This is not a witch-hunt against the first minister, Mr Davies adds. He notes that the Welsh Government felt able to publish a separate report by James Hamilton which cleared Carwyn Jones of misleading the assembly when responding to questions about alleged bullying.

'Unique set of circumstances'

These are a unique set of circumstances surrounding the death of a minister, says Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies. He insists safeguards could be put in place to protect the identity of witnesses.

Andrew RT Davies
BBC

Welsh Conservatives debate

The Welsh Conservatives are now using a debate to try to force publication of a report into whether there was a leak of a reshuffle conducted before Carl Sargeant's death.

He was found dead after being sacked as communities secretary amid allegations about his behaviour towards women.

The leak inquiry was one of three ordered following the sacking and subsequent death of Mr Sargeant, who is thought to have taken his own life.

It found no "unauthorised" leaking of information on his sacking but its full details were withheld.

Carl Sargeant was found dead four days after he was sacked as communities secretary
BBC
Carl Sargeant was found dead four days after he was sacked as communities secretary
Sargeant report: Legal threat did risk looking heavy-handed, minister says
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford says the threat of legal action to postpone a Senedd debate on the sacking of Carl Sargeant was not intended to silence the assembly.

Welsh Government accepts Committee’s recommendations

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford sets out the Welsh Government's response to the report from the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee.

The response can be seen in detail here.

All the Committee’s recommendations are accepted, at least in principle.

Round-up of all things Brexit

'Urgently examine likely parameters of various Brexit scenarios'

The first debate of the day is on the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee report: How is the Welsh Government preparing for Brexit?

Committee chair David Rees (Aberavon) presents the report, which has seven recommendations.

The first recommendation is that the Welsh Government "urgently examines the likely parameters of various Brexit scenarios, including a no deal scenario, and reports on progress within 6 months".

David Rees
BBC

90 Second Statements

We move on to 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.

'A memorial to all Princes of Wales'

Economy Secretary Ken Skates says the Second Severn Crossing is a UK government asset, and that the first minister did not object to the proposed name change.

He adds that although the new bridge name marks Prince Charles being given the title 60 years ago, and his turning 70 this year, "I see no reason why it cannot be celebrated as a memorial to all Princes of Wales in the past".

Ken Skates
BBC
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Topical Question: renaming of the second Severn crossing

Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central) asks: Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the Welsh Government's role in the proposed renaming of the second Severn crossing to the Prince of Wales bridge?

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns's announcement that the Second Severn Crossing would be renamed to honour the Prince of Wales prompted howls of outrage on social media.

second Severn crossing
Getty Images

Questions to the Assembly Commission

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

The Commission is chaired by the Llywydd and is made up of four Assembly Members who have been elected by the Assembly. Each member of the Commission holds a specific portfolio of responsibilities for the Fifth Assembly.

AMs vote to hold debate on UK air strikes in Syria

Leader of the House Julie James says the House of Commons is the appropriate forum for such a debate, and the Welsh Government will abstain in the vote.

27 members vote for a debate, 15 abstain with 9 against, so the debate will he held later this afternoon.

Vote
BBC

UK air strikes in Syria

We now have a proposal for an Urgent Debate under Standing Order 12.69 by Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood on the UK air strikes in Syria.

RAF planes before leaving an airport in Cyprus
CROWN
RAF planes before leaving an airport in Cyprus

Referral 'regrettable' but should not be 'over-dramatised'

Counsel General Jeremy Miles tells AMs the UK government's decision to refer the Law Derived from the European Union (Wales) Bill to the Supreme Court is "regrettable" but should not be "over-dramatised".

He says the Welsh Government is clear that the Bill is within devolved legislative competence and will, "if necessary, defend the reference in full".

Jeremy Miles
BBC