Presiding over chaos

The new Welsh assembly meets for the first time tomorrow, and Dafydd Elis Thomas is a cert for the Presiding Officer's chair. Frankly, the chances of him surrendering that seat are about as likely as Charlotte Church naming her baby 'Christian'.

But the race for the position of Deputy Presiding Officer is much more open. I've heard the names Jenny Randerson, Gwenda Thomas and Lorraine Barrett floated, though for comedy value I'd like to see Carl Sargeant rise to the challenge.

This time around, however, the assembly can't elect a PO and DPO from the same political group. They also can't elect a PO and DPO from different political groups where both or neither have an executive role. In other words, unlike for the last eight years, one of the presiding officer roles has to be taken by someone from the ruling party/coalition.

Problem is, I doubt very much there will be a ruling coalition by tomorrow. At the moment, the situation in the assembly is like a primary school classroom when the teacher has nipped out for a crafty pee. Nobody knows who's in charge.

But the identity of the Deputy Presiding Officer might at least give us a clue about how coalition talks are going. My hunch is that a Labour bod will be put forward this time around as Rhodri Morgan flutters his eyelashes in Ieuan Wyn Jones' direction. If, however, we see the Lib Dems' Jenny Randerson in the chair, we'll know that Mike German has been warming Rhodri's bed, with Kirsty Williams squeezed in beside them.

It is quite likely, however, that a PO and DPO could be elected who later turn out to be on the same side of the political divide. That means they'll have to resign unless someone proposes a motion for them to stay. How convenient that there's such a get out clause enshrined in the standing orders. Sums up Welsh government, really, doesn't it? 'Right, so either you stay and I go, or I stay and you go, or we both go, or... we activate the loophole and keep our extra £40,000 a year.'

Anyway, for what it's worth, many politicians now believe it's Labour's turn to take one of the vote-nullifying administrative roles. If they can find someone who is happy and content to break bread with Dafydd El, then they should put them forward. After all, £72,000 a year just for sipping spring water and telling Rhodri Glyn Thomas to shut his trap isn't such a bad deal.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 12:46 am,

21 Comments:

At 7:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As there is no government and there are only 60 seats (ok, 61 for you nerds!) will Rhodders, Edwina etc be so presumptious and sit in the WAG front row?

Why don't Plaid 'bagsey' the front row by putting towels on the seats?

 
At 10:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FIRST OF ALL THE DPO DOES NOT HAVE TO BE FROM THE EXEC IF THIS WAS TRUE WHY WAS MAREK ELECTED OVER LAW IN THE LAST ASSEMBLY.

SECOND THE OLS SEXEC CAN SIT ON THE FIRST ROW AS THEY ARE STILL MINISTERS TILL NEW ONES ARE ELECTED

 
At 10:37 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon,

Under the new SOs either the PO or the DPO has to be from the governing party. The other has to be from the Opposition (see SO 2.12). This wasn't the case in the SOs for the First and Second Assemblies hence Marek and Dafydd El being able to be DPO and PO at the same time.

As Blamerbell notes however, there's a nice little get-out clause: SO 2.13. As long as 2/3 members agree, SO 2.12 can be disapplied.

 
At 10:37 am, Blogger Mike Wood said...

Surely Jenny Randerson being elected could mean either a Labour/Lib Dem coalition is being considered (in which case Randerson would be from the governing party and Dafydd El would be from the opposition) or a Labour/Plaid coaltion (where it would be the other way round).

A Labour appointment would only fit in with the standing orders if there was a Plaid/Conservative/Lib Dem rainbow coalition

 
At 10:43 am, Anonymous After the storm said...

Smart money is on Gwenda - quietly impressive cttee chair, Welsh-speaker and (despite Shipton's poisonous marks out of ten) well-regarded by colleagues and voters alike.

 
At 10:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They'd better get it right, last time they picked Marek over Law, which was the start of peters fued with rhodri and was the starting point of everything that followed.

 
At 11:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smart money is on Gwenda - quietly impressive cttee chair, Welsh-speaker and (despite Shipton's poisonous marks out of ten) well-regarded by colleagues and voters alike.

You have to be jokingIve presented twice to committees she has chaired she is like a primary school teacher and so protective of the ministers to be worthy of a sick bucket award
We need gravitas as PO and DPO
naorty thought -how about Huw Lewis he seems to like the limelight

 
At 11:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes sorry i forgot the new so came into force

 
At 11:26 am, Blogger LabourMark said...

I agree with you after the storm I think Gwends Thomas would do an excellent DPO she would be fair and conduct her self in a dignified manner not like Marek did

 
At 12:32 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know very much about Andrew Davies (Con) who was elected on the South Wales Central list? I've found a picture of him (providing it actually is the same Andrew Davies who stood in Cardiff West in 2001). Is he on a council or what?

 
At 12:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know im trying to find out info on him as well, its like he has just apeared from nowhere

 
At 1:04 pm, Blogger Mike Wood said...

He was also candidate in Brecon & Radnor in 2005.

He owns a farm in Vale of Glamorgan.

 
At 1:08 pm, Anonymous Daran said...

"Does anyone know very much about Andrew Davies (Con) who was elected on the South Wales Central list?"

He is a farmer from the Vale of Glam. Also fought B&R in 2005. Quite an affable chap, I'm told, and on the pro-Assembly side of the debate within the Conservative Party.

A biog on the Conservative website might have helped.

 
At 1:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about a tory deputy presiding officer, maybe the one that looks like santa, William Graham

 
At 3:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daran is way off on Andrew Davies - glad I'm not paying him £2,000. He's in favour of abolishing the Assembly. Affable? In a twp farmer sort of way. Pro-Assembly? Only in the sense that it gives him a wage to subsidise his farm. Sharpen up Mr Hill people are paying you good money.

 
At 3:40 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"Why don't Plaid 'bagsey' the front row by putting towels on the seats?"

Oh, please no. That suggests there could be swimwear involved, and I don't want to see any of that.

As for a Tory presiding officer, I think that's unlikely. I suspect William Graham will most probably carry on with his Lenin impression from the back benches.

I look forward to thinking of an excuse to meet the new intake soon. Bloody farmers, though, are everywhere.

 
At 3:52 pm, Blogger LabourMark said...

lol well go there tomorrow then blam and say hi to them all, they would love it

 
At 4:55 pm, Anonymous Daran said...

"Daran is way off on Andrew Davies - glad I'm not paying him £2,000. He's in favour of abolishing the Assembly. Affable? In a twp farmer sort of way. Pro-Assembly? Only in the sense that it gives him a wage to subsidise his farm. Sharpen up Mr Hill people are paying you good money."

Thanks for the pricing tip. Will check my sources, but in the meantime at least I've got a photo of him on my site, which is more than the National Assembly seems to...

 
At 7:37 pm, Blogger Marcusian said...

Why dont we just have Blamerbell as PO and Arsembly as DPO????

:0)

 
At 5:08 pm, Anonymous Daran said...

"After all, £72,000 a year just for sipping spring water and telling Rhodri Glyn Thomas to shut his trap isn't such a bad deal."

Very prophetic - RGT was indeed the first Assembly Member to be so instructed today...

 
At 5:12 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

God I'm good:)

 

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