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‘Regrettable’ that there has never been a Conservative Llywydd at Senedd says chair

13 May 2021 3 minutes Read
Laura Anne Jones. Picture by the Welsh Conservatives.

The fact that not a single Conservative presiding officer has been elected in 22 years of devolution is “regrettable” and a sign of a “Labour-Plaid partnership” in Cardiff Bay.

Conservative Laura Anne Jones made the comments in the wake of the re-election of Plaid Cymru’s Elin Jones to the Llywydd post yesterday.

Elin Jones beat the Conservative MS Russell George in a socially distanced secret ballot at a meeting of the Senedd – the first since last week’s election.

Ellin Jones, who is the Plaid Cymru Senedd member for Ceredigion, got 35 votes, while her opponent received 25.

It means that while the Conservatives have previously held the Deputy Llwydd role, a Conservative MS has never been elected Llywydd.

Chair of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Senedd, Laura Anne Jones, congratulated Elin Jones but said she was disappointed not to see a Conservative take the role.

“I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Elin Jones MS on her reappointment as Presiding Officer, and to David Rees MS on his appointment as Deputy Presiding Officer,” Laura Anne Jones said.

“Over the past five years, Elin has played an important role overseeing the transformation of this place from an Assembly to a Parliament, whilst David has distinguished himself in the chamber and will do so in his new role.

“However, it is regrettable that in the 22 years of the Senedd, a Welsh Conservative has never held the prestigious post of Presiding Officer, and as the Welsh Parliament’s official opposition and largest political group outside of government, we are disappointed to see our nomination fall.

“We believe a Conservative appointee would have been a sensible way to build consensus across the political divide in the Senedd – rather than the usual Labour-Plaid partnership in Cardiff Bay – which will be important as Wales recovers after the incredible challenges of the past year.

“But with normality now returning across Welsh society, it’s vital the Senedd leads the way with the Presiding Officer exploring all avenues to see us return safely as a fully-functioning, in-person parliament as soon as is practically possible.”

‘Llongyfarchiadau’

The Llywydd, or the Presiding Officer in English, performs a similar tole to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

They maintain order in meetings and protect the rights of Members. However, they also head the Senedd Commission, which has responsibility for the provision of property, staff and services required to enable the Senedd to function.

There is also a Deputy Presiding Officer, a role taken yesterday by Labour’s David Rees.

The MS for Aberavon, defeated Hefin David, the MS for Caerphilly, by 35 votes to 24.

“Honoured and delighted to be elected as Deputy Presiding Officer of the Senedd,” David Rees said. “Thank you to all members who have put their faith in me to maintain our standing orders and the running of the Senedd.”

“Llongyfarchiadau David Rees, Diprwy Llywydd,” Hefin David said. “I’m looking forward to supporting my good friend as Deputy Presiding Officer in the Sixth Senedd.”

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Steve George
Steve George
1 month ago

Actually there’s never been a Labour or Lib Dem (or any party other than Plaid) Llywydd either! Make of that what you will.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve George

Rosemary Butler (Labour) was Llywydd 2011-2016. There have been no Conservative or Lib Dem Llywydd

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

As it was a democratic vote, perhaps they need to take the advice of Nadine Dorries and get more Tories elected to vote or does that advice only apply over the border? Perhaps it should be different rules for the colonies?

Chris
Chris
1 month ago

A Conservative Llywydd would build consensus would it?
A Conservative opposition who had NOT spent the last few years trying to undermine the credibility of Y Senedd would build consensus more effectively. A Conservative Westminster Govt, removing the absolutely extraneous colonialist “Welsh Minister” post would build lots of consensus.
Let’s try that first!

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago

Since the number of Conservative MS’s who speak Welsh is relatively small compared to Plaid Cymru MS’s, the number of Tory members with the necessary basic skills for the job is always going to be small.

Siân
Siân
1 month ago

Should have thought of that before getting rid of people like Suzie Davies

David Williams
David Williams
1 month ago

Now the new Presiding Officer (Llywydd) has been nominated at the Welsh Parliament, I expect the new incumbent Elin Jones MS will now give up her party affiliation to take over the politically neutral role, as they do in Westminster and the Scottish Parliament.

Tomos
Tomos
1 month ago

Anyone who has had the misfortune of watching tv coverage of Senedd debates, and the many interventions of the Presiding Officer, cannot fail to be dismayed at the abject paucity and quality of those debates and the many puerile interventions of the Officer. The normal expectations that the governing Party should be held to account in such sessions are totally submerged in a labyrinth of ridiculous objections and points of order from the Chair. There’s no hope for democratic debate for the affairs of Wales under the present circumstances and the all too cosy relationships which persist in the Seneca.

Steve Hall
Steve Hall
1 month ago

Wasn’t David Melding offered the role and he declined to accept it a few years ago? If so there was an opportunity for a conservative Llywydd.

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