Brexit continues to dominate the political agenda as Theresa May failed to get her Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons for the third time on Friday. With March 29 having come and gone and the UK no closer securing a divorce deal with the EU, the Welsh Government’s Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles will address Assembly Members on Tuesday to give an update on EU negotiations. Brexit debates in the Siambr have become increasingly heated and have threatened to boil over in recent weeks, so expect more partisan debate on the way forward.
On Tuesday afternoon the Assembly will hold a stage one debate on the Legislation (Wales) Bill. The Welsh Government Bill, introduced by Jeremy Miles in his role as Counsel General, is designed to make Welsh law clearer and more accessible to the public. Wednesday will see Plaid Cymru’s Bethan Sayed propose a Bill to reform and improve support for child victims of sexual abuse. Ms Sayed, a regional AM for South Wales West, will suggest introducing the Barnahus Model of therapeutic-led support for victims and improving emergency and temporary accommodation provision for abused children who cannot return to their home. Elsewhere, the Constitutional and Finance committees will continue their respective inquiries into the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill, which is designed to implement reforms to the Assembly’s electoral processes and reduce the minimum voting age to 16 from 18.
With the Easter recess almost upon us the Assembly’s committees seem keen to get as much work done as possible before their three-week break. We’ve worked out that there will be a total of 13 separate evidence sessions on Thursday morning alone, as the Finance, Economy, Health and Equality committees look to get through inquiries on the Senedd and Elections Bill, regional skills partnerships, mental health in policing, and the Blue Badge scheme.
On Tuesday the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James, will deliver a statement to the Assembly on building safety. Expect the statement to focus on fire safety in high-rise tower blocks in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017. Meanwhile, late on Wednesday afternoon Caroline Jones, the Independent AM for South Wales West, will lead a short debate on social housing, questioning who benefits from existing provision.
With the threat of climate change and increasing popularity of meat-free diets, sustainable food production has become a more politicised topic of late. To reflect this growing issue, the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee is looking into allotments and begins taking oral evidence this week. AMs will consider progress against the predecessor committee’s report on allotment provision in 2010, questioning whether the approaches taken by the Welsh Government and councils is appropriate to meet the challenges of the future.
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