Wales politics

Alun Ffred Jones criticises Welsh Assembly 'lethargy'

An empty debating chamber at the Senedd
Image caption The assembly has sat for a few hours since the election on 5 May

A Plaid Cymru assembly member has written to the presiding officer after criticising the "lack of urgency" in setting up committees.

Alun Ffred Jones said there was a "sense of lethargy" in the assembly and committees had not been appointed, nearly a month after the election.

The former culture minister warned said it was not good for the assembly's image to have AMs "pottering around".

The Assembly Commission has been asked to comment.

The assembly has sat for just a few hours since the election on 5 May.

Image caption Mr Ffred Jones warns the assembly's image could suffer

Mr Ffred Jones, AM for Arfon and chair of the Plaid Cymru assembly group, said he did not think the row over the two disqualified Lib Dem AMs could be blamed for the delays, because it was known there would be five Lib Dem seats.

He told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement: "There is a sense of lethargy in the assembly and a lack of urgency in setting up these committees.

"After all, we are there of course to represent our electors and I suppose all of us are getting on with that, but as far as the ordinary assembly member is concerned of course, the committees are a lifeblood in a sense, because we can set up all sorts of inquiries and we scrutinise the government's work."

He said the Welsh Government seemed to be on a "go-slow because it hasn't set out its programme for government," compared to Scotland, where First Minister Alex Salmond "within a few hours was saying exactly what what he was going to do and what he wanted" from Westminster.

He added: "If we're not careful we'll be in summer recess and we'll still be pottering around and it's not good for the image of the assembly if we are seen to be just getting down to Cardiff Bay every week just for a few hours."

The assembly's business committee is expected to return to the issue when it next meets after the end of the recess on 6 June.

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