Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hain creates division

So Peter Hain told the Welsh Select Committee today (yesterday now) that he thinks that 'regional' AMs should receive less additional costs allowance and employ fewer staff than 'constituecy' AMs. I hope this does not come to pass and I do not for one minute think Peter Hain does either. So why is he saying it. I will try to work it out.
I hear it on good authority that Labour in the Assembly want 'regional' AMs to become secondary to 'constituency' AMs. They want them to have to notify the superier 'constituency' AMs of every approach they receive from constituents. I also hear, on equally good authority, that they want a 'code of conduct' restricting 'regional' AMs included in the Standing Orders that a cross party group are currently drawing up. I will not vote for this and nor will enough other AMs to carry it into force. Consequently, the National Assembly will fail to draw up their own standing orders - which will make it look seriously foolish. It also means that Peter Hain would have to draw up the Standing Orders himself - and I can't imagine that he would want that. So he's putting the 'frighteners' on to try to force opposition AMs to come to an agreement. I am afraid it won't work. Not enough of us are willing to be blackmailed.
I do think Peter Hain is right when he says AMs should work harder though. There is no excuse for not holding Plenary sessions on three days per week and sometimes in the mornings as well. Restricting this week's Draft Budget Debate to less than 2 hours was a scandal. And there should be much more time when opposition parties choose the business so that we can dispense with the farcial Business Statement nonsense we currently have every Tuesday - and less votes when we all agree that 'motherhood and apple pie' are good.

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