FMQs - from Gibraltar to the Church Village bypass

Neil Hamilton AM
Image caption UKIP Assembly group leader Neil Hamilton grills the first minister on Gibraltar.

For David Lloyd George, a change of trouble was as good as a vacation.

With that in mind, and MPs not sitting this week, I swapped Westminster for Cardiff Bay to take in First Minister's Questions.

The temperature was lower than Westminster, with barely a raised voice and little anger, synthetic or otherwise.

The pace was slower, but the first minister was challenged in greater detail on local issues than Theresa May is - his answers took in everything from the Church Village bypass to bus services into Porth.

The questions were longer, certainly long enough to have tried the patience of a Bercow in the presiding officer's chair. The Commons Speaker might have grown a little frustrated at how many of the questions were read out by AMs - in one case it appeared the AM was seeing his question for the very first time.

'Sport Wales'

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies focused on the goings-on at Sport Wales or "Sports Wales", as he called it several times. He asked twice if the decision to sack its chair was supported by the whole government - but produced no evidence to suggest that it wasn't.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood focused on job cuts in universities - and prompted concern from Carwyn Jones that Brexit would lead to a cut in income from EU students.

You won't be surprised to learn that UKIP group leader Neil Hamilton focused on Brexit. He wanted the first minister to fire off letters to the German chancellor, the Spanish prime minister and Gibraltar's chief minister.

Mr Hamilton suggested Mr Jones could let Angela Merkel know he didn't like the proposed choreography of Brexit talks, and let Mariano Rajoy and Fabian Picardo know Gibraltar would remain British.

'The rock'

The first minister said admitted he'd never faced three questions on Gibraltar before and said the rock was not part of his devolved responsibilities. But he will be meeting Mr Picardo within the next few weeks.

Other questions were about Mr Jones's devolved responsibilities, such as the economy and GDP per head.

"That is something we will be focusing on very closely over the next five to ten years and beyond," said the man who's been first minister since 2009, which may be bad news for any AM hoping to succeed him in the next decade.

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