Y Cyfarfod Llawn - Y Bumed Senedd

Plenary - Fifth Senedd


The Assembly met at 13:30 with the Presiding Officer (Dame Rosemary Butler) in the Chair.

Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 13:30:00

Good afternoon. Good afternoon, everyone. Good afternoon.

Croeso i Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru.

And welcome to the first meeting of the fifth Assembly.

1. 1. Election of the Presiding Officer under Standing Order 6
Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 13:30:00

The first item on the agenda is the election of a Presiding Officer, under Standing Order 6. So, I therefore invite nominations under Standing Order 6.6. Do we have any nominations? And we have to have a Member from a different political party to second any nomination. So, nominations please.

I nominate Elin Jones as Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales.

Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 13:31:00

I’m sorry. Thank you, Dai Lloyd—I didn’t see you round there. Elin Jones. Is there a seconder, from a different political party?

I second Elin Jones for the position of Presiding Officer.

Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 13:31:00

Thank you, Jane Hutt. Are there any other nominations?

Presiding Officer, I’d like to nominate Dafydd Elis-Thomas as Presiding Officer.

Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 13:31:00

Dafydd Elis-Thomas. Is there a seconder, from another party?

I’d like to second the nomination of Dafydd Elis-Thomas for Deputy—for Presiding Officer, sorry.

Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 13:31:00

Are you sure now?

Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 13:31:00

Right, thank you. It helps if you take your earphones off, you know—you don’t hear yourself.

Are there any other nominations? No other nominations for Presiding Officer. As we have two nominations, I would invite the two candidates to stand and say just a few words about themselves, and I hope I don’t have to have the prerogative of the Presiding Officer to call you to time this afternoon; I will be generous. The first nomination was Elin Jones. Therefore, I call Elin Jones to speak to the Assembly. Elin Jones.

Thank you, Presiding Officer. May I welcome everybody to the Assembly, those of you who are newcomers and those of you who are returning?

May I say that I believe that it’s a great honour to be proposed as Presiding Officer designate and to put my name forward to the vote? Some of you know me very well, and some of you perhaps don’t know me at all. Therefore, before moving to the vote, I’ll outline some of the principles that will be the foundation of my term as Presiding Officer, if successful.

First of all, I would endeavour to be fair—attempt to be fair and be fair—with every Member of this Assembly, to treat everybody equally and to safeguard the rights of each individual Member. Secondly, I would promote and safeguard the good reputation of this Assembly, here in the Chamber and beyond, in every community within Wales. And I would wish to allow a lively, healthy, democratic debate here in the Assembly, and I would be transparent at all times. Finally, I would also ensure that this Senedd plays a constructive, collaborative role with our fellow and sister Parliaments within the United Kingdom and beyond. I would hope, this afternoon, that I will gain your support for Presiding Officer.

Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 13:33:00

Thank you. I now call on Dafydd Elis-Thomas.

Thank you very much, Presiding Officer. Strengthening the Welsh constitution has been the main aim and pleasure in my life, and the opportunity, be that unexpected, to continue with that work by presiding over the fifth Assembly is one that I believe to be crucial, because this is the Assembly that will move this Senedd from being a relatively inferior Senedd within the UK to being an equal partner. This will be the Senedd where the responsibility for all our parliamentary proceedings will be devolved to us, and, hopefully, that will happen very soon, given all the sluggishness that there’s been in agreeing the Wales Bill. I won’t actually go in to who’s to blame on one side or the other in a speech such as this one.

In addition to that, we will have responsibility for our own electoral arrangements, and it appears to me, having been in a number of polling booths, as a constituency candidate, that there is a case for us to look anew—for the first time from our point of view as a body—at the voting system and to see whether there is a more proportional system and a more democratic system that we could put in place.

The other challenge, of course, is to ensure that this Senedd is a Senedd that works efficiently. I have to say that, having spent time in the chair, as an individual Member and as a committee Chair, we haven’t yet developed the correct and mature balance between scrutinising Government and getting our business through. Those two aspects of the role of a parliament are just as important if we are to be an effective parliament.

This, too, will be a period where we are likely to have responsibility in appointing a new chief executive for this institution, and this is an opportunity for us to not only thank the incumbent chief executive but also to thank her for the inspiration that has been given to the high-quality staff that we have in this place. Many of you who are former Members, as I have been, of another place, have told me how happy you are to see the professional quality of the work carried out here. I am fully committed to ensuring that those working for us are given appropriate recognition. Thank you very much.

Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 13:36:00

Thank you very much. As we have two candidates, we will therefore hold a secret ballot. So, we will now adjourn the meeting to allow that ballot to take place. Members will have 30 minutes to cast their votes. Voting will take place in briefing room 13 and ushers are on hand to direct the Members to that room. Guidance on this procedure is outlined in the document that you’ve already received and the bell will be rung to indicate when the voting booths are open.

The Clerk will be responsible for supervising the voting and counting the votes. Following the secret ballot, I will arrange for the bell to be rung a second time five minutes before we reconvene in the Siambr. I will then announce the results. We may reconvene sooner than 30 minutes, if all Members have voted before then. So, I now adjourn the meeting.

Plenary was suspended at 13:37.

The Assembly reconvened at 14:15, with the Presiding Officer in the Chair.

Y Llywydd / The Presiding Officer 14:15:00

The Assembly is now back in session, and the result of the secret ballot is as follows. All the 60 Members voted: Elin Jones, 34, Dafydd Elis-Thomas 25, and 1 abstention. I therefore declare, in accordance with Standing Order 6.9, that Elin Jones is elected as Presiding Officer to the National Assembly for Wales, and I invite her to take the Chair. [Applause.]

The Presiding Officer (Elin Jones) took the Chair.

You all look very different from up here. [Laughter.]

Mae’n fraint ac yn anrhydedd cael fy ethol i’r swydd hon ac rwy’n diolch i’r Cynulliad yn fawr am eich cefnogaeth. Cyn inni symud ymlaen i ethol Dirprwy Lywydd, hoffwn i gofnodi diolchiadau’r Cynulliad yma oll i’r cyn-Lywydd, Rosemary Butler. Mae wedi bod yn llysgennad gwych i’r Cynulliad yn ystod y pum mlynedd diwethaf. Mae wedi chwalu rhwystrau sy’n atal pobl rhag cymryd rhan yn y broses ddemocrataidd, yn enwedig ymhlith menywod trwy ei hymgyrch Menywod mewn Bywyd Cyhoeddus a’i gwaith i annog mwy o bobl ifanc i chwarae eu rhan wrth wraidd busnes y Cynulliad. Diolch yn fawr i chi, Rosemary, gan bob un ohonom, a phob dymuniad da i chi yn y dyfodol. Diolch yn fawr iawn, Rosemary. [Cymeradwyaeth.]

2. 2. Election of the Deputy Presiding Officer under Standing Order 6

We now move to the election of the Deputy Presiding Officer. In accordance with Standing Order 6.12, I would like to remind Members that only a nomination from a different political party to mine and a group with an Executive role will be valid in the first place. However, this rule can be disapplied with the support of two thirds of Members once the nominations are known. Do we have a Member of a different political party—? Is there a nomination for the Deputy Presiding Officer?

Llywydd, can I nominate John Griffiths for the post of Deputy Presiding Officer?

Do we a Member from a different political group to second the nomination?

Do we have a Member from a different political group to second that nomination?

Thank you for that. Are there any other nominations? I see that there are none. I therefore propose in accordance with Standing Order 6.8—no. That’s my first error. If there is more than one nomination—all right. Therefore, there are two nominations for the post and a secret ballot will be held under Standing Order 6.8. Prior to that, I now invite the nominated candidates to address the Assembly, and I will call them in the order in which they were nominated. I therefore firstly call upon John Griffiths to address the Assembly.

Diolch yn fawr, Lywydd. Could I firstly congratulate you on your election to the post of Presiding Officer, and also add my appreciation to the work of Rosemary Butler, the former Presiding Officer, who I think everybody in this Chamber would agree did a great deal of good work over the previous five years and provides a very fine example to follow?

In that vein, could I also say that, if I am to become Deputy Presiding Officer, it will be a great challenge to follow the role set out and fulfilled by David Melding, who I think, again, everybody in this Chamber would agree fulfilled his duties as Deputy—[Applause.]—fulfilled his role as Deputy with great distinction, Llywydd?

Llywydd, many of us have been on a long journey with devolution. I’ve been here since the beginning in 1999 and it’s been a tremendous privilege to watch devolution grow and develop and this institution grow and develop—develop its powers, develop its role and increase its standing with the people of Wales. The future, the next five years, will see a further increase in those powers and I hope a further increase in the standing of the National Assembly for Wales. I believe it’s a very exciting time with the Wales Act and electoral arrangements to be decided here offering new possibilities in terms of the way we organise ourselves and engage with the people of Wales.

If I were to become Deputy Presiding Officer, I would be very keen to play a role in taking that very, very important work forward. I do believe that I have important experience, having been here since 1999 and also having been leader of the legislative programme and Counsel General, as well as, of course, a backbencher in more recent times. So, I do believe I have a good deal of relevant experience and I also believe I have the abilities to fulfil this role effectively.

Llywydd, can I say, finally, it’s obviously very important to strike the right balance between the Government and opposition and, I believe, more crucial to ensure that the rights of backbenchers are not just protected but enhanced? So, what I would say in conclusion is that, if I were to become Deputy Presiding Officer, my utmost priority would be to be impartial and fair to all, and I ask for your support on that basis.

Thank you, Presiding Officer, and congratulations.

A gaf fi ychwanegu fy niolch i Rosemary Butler ac i David Melding am yr adegau y buont yn y Gadair yn ystod y Cynulliad diwethaf? Deuthum i’r pumed Cynulliad hwn, fel John, o fod wedi bod yma ers 1999, ond o fod wedi tyfu i fyny gyda thaith datganoli, o fod wedi tyfu i fyny’n rhwystredig â thaith datganoli ar y ffordd, ond o fod wedi gweld y sefydliad hwn, er hynny, yn dod yn rhan annatod o raglen ddeddfwriaethol pobl Cymru, ond hefyd yn ffordd y gallwn ni yng Nghymru wneud pethau'n wahanol bellach, ac ar wahân.

Hoffwn adleisio'r hyn a ddywedodd John. Bydd pawb ohonoch yn gwybod am fy rhwystredigaeth, ond byddwch hefyd yn gwybod fod gennyf feddwl annibynnol—byddai’n well i chi ofyn i'r rhes flaen ynglŷn â pha mor annibynnol fy marn oeddwn i yn y Cynulliad diwethaf neu'r Cynulliadau cyn hynny—ond rwyf bob amser wedi meddwl bod lle yma i bobl sy'n gallu datblygu’r syniadau hynny, datblygu'r sgiliau hynny a bod yn deg ag Aelodau’r meinciau cefn. Rwy’n meddwl bod John a minnau ein dau’n teimlo hynny fel Aelodau'r meinciau cefn.

Rwyf eisiau datblygu menywod mewn bywyd gwleidyddol a Menywod mewn Bywyd Cyhoeddus y cymerodd y cyn-Lywydd—. Ond rwyf hefyd yn awyddus i weld—. Nid oes gennym gynrychiolaeth ddigonol ar gyfer pobl ag anableddau ac rwy'n credu bod gennym ffordd bell i fynd o hyd ym maes anabledd o ran dod i gysylltiad â phobl ag anableddau—caniatáu iddynt ddod ymlaen mewn gwirionedd a chwarae eu rhan mewn cymdeithas.

Felly, rwy'n gofyn am gefnogaeth heddiw. Rwyf wedi gwneud 17 mlynedd. Rwy'n teimlo mai nawr yw’r amser i mi gynorthwyo'r Llywydd i newid y pumed Cynulliad hwn, sy’n mynd i fod yn wahanol. Mae pob un wedi bod yn wahanol. Ac rwy’n meddwl mai nawr yw’r amser i mi ddweud: credaf fod gennyf syniadau newydd, mae gennyf syniadau annibynnol, ond rwyf am wrando ar eich holl syniadau chi yn ogystal ac rwyf am eu datblygu gyda'n gilydd, ar y cyd, fel Cynulliad, fel sefydliad, ond yn anad dim, gan gofio bod pobl Cymru yno ac y dylem fod yno i'w gwasanaethu. Diolch yn fawr iawn.

We will now adjourn the meeting to allow the secret ballot to take place. Members will once again have 30 minutes to cast their vote, and, once again, the voting will take place in briefing room 13. I therefore adjourn the meeting.

Plenary was suspended at 14:25.

The Assembly reconvened at 14:58, with the Presiding Officer in the Chair.

Assembly, I am now in a position to give you the result of the secret ballot for the Deputy Presiding Officer. John Griffiths received 29 votes and Ann Jones 30 votes. I therefore declare, in accordance with Standing Order 6.9 that Ann Jones is elected as Deputy Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales.

Once again, before proceeding, I think it would be appropriate for us to acknowledge the work of the former Deputy Presiding Officer, David Melding: insightful and diligent work during this past Assembly, in this Chamber, beyond this Chamber and as Chair of Assembly committees. Therefore, may I take this opportunity to thank David Melding very much on behalf of this Assembly? [Applause.]

I congratulate Ann Jones on her election as Deputy Presiding Officer and ask, if she so wishes, whether she would wish to say a few words.

Diolch, Lywydd. Can I just say, ‘Thank you, John’, because John and I have spent lots of time walking corridors—haven’t we John—over the last couple of days? And I’d like to say thank you to John, because I think what we’ve done is we’ve worked together with the best interests of this Assembly at heart. And I haven’t had this slim a majority—I’ve been known to have slim majorities—but I haven’t had this slim a majority, but, nevertheless, can I thank everybody for their confidence in me? I promise I won’t let you down, and I promise that I will work very hard to make sure that this institution is regarded as what it should be and what it really is, and that is the best of the institutions across the UK. So, diolch yn fawr iawn; thank you. [Applause.]

3. 3. Nomination of First Minister under Standing Order 8

We therefore proceed to the next item of business, namely the nomination of First Minister. In accordance with Standing Order 12.11, the proposal is to bring forward nominations for a First Minister. Does any Member object? If not, we will take nominations for appointment as First Minister. May I ask whether there are any nominations for First Minister?

Can I nominate Carwyn Jones as the First Minister of Wales?

I nominate Leanne Wood as the First Minister of Wales.

As there are two nominations, I will now conduct a vote by roll call and invite each Member present to vote for a candidate. I will call each Member present in alphabetical order. Please clearly state the name of the candidate you support when I call your name, or indicate that you wish to abstain. In accordance with Standing Order 8.2, neither the Deputy Presiding Officer nor I are permitted to vote. Therefore, in alphabetical order, I call for you to nominate one of the two candidates or to abstain, beginning with Mick Antoniw.

We have taken the roll call. If we may now pause, we will confirm the result.

The result of the vote for nomination as First Minister was Carwyn Jones, 29, Leanne Wood, 29. Following the fact that there is no majority, I therefore adjourn the remainder of this sitting for the time being and I therefore close this meeting.

The meeting was suspended at 15:08.

The Assembly reconvened at 15:47, with the Presiding Officer in the Chair.

Order, therefore, in the Assembly.

Following discussions with the groups, it is evident to me that reopening nominations for First Minister today would not deliver a different result to the one we saw earlier. I therefore bring the meeting to a close and, in accordance with Standing Order 12.8, I will ensure that Members are notified in good time of the date and time of the next meeting.

The meeting ended at 15:48.