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AMs will pay tribute to Steffan Lewis from 12:45pm on Tuesday, after the South Wales East AM passed away last week. 

 

Tribute to Steffan Lewis

Assembly members will pay tribute to their colleague Steffan Lewis from 12:45pm on Tuesday afternoon ahead of plenary business. Mr Lewis, who served as a regional member for South Wales East, died last Friday having been diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in late 2017. At 34 he was one of the youngest AMs in the Siambr after his election in 2016 and was widely regarded as a rising star within his party. He served as Plaid’s spokesperson on external affairs and proposed a Continuity Act to protect devolved Welsh powers returning from the EU after Brexit, which eventually became the Welsh Government’s Law Derived from the European Union (Wales) Act 2018. He also strived to raise awareness of bowel cancer after his diagnosis by fundraising for charities and speaking about the impact of the disease on his own life.

 

Latest Brexit Statement

What will happen in the aftermath of Tuesday evening’s vote in the House of Commons on Theresa May’s Brexit deal is anybody’s guess. The Prime Minister is tipped to lose the crucial vote, despite upping the pressure on MPs in recent days by suggesting no Brexit is more likely than no deal if her deal is voted down. Perhaps prematurely, the Welsh Government has scheduled a statement from its Brexit Minister, Jeremy Miles, for Tuesday afternoon, on the ‘UK Government’s current proposals on EU withdrawal’. Given that those proposals are likely to have changed drastically within 24 hours of Mr Miles’ speech, one could argue that a Wednesday statement would have been more fitting – maybe Plaid Cymru’s debate on Wednesday afternoon will be more enlightening, as AMs are asked to vote on a motion proposing that the Assembly rejects a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances.

 

Money motions put to the vote

On Tuesday afternoon AMs will vote on the final budget, local government settlement and Welsh rates on income tax for 2019-20. From 6th April the Welsh Government will be able to vary the rates of income tax people pay in Wales for the first time under powers in the Wales Act 2014. Despite the additional money for the local government settlement announced in December, several councils still face budget cuts, while the overall budget has been criticised in some quarters for not putting enough emphasis on preventative spending.

 

First vote on the Autism Bill

The Autism (Wales) Bill is likely to fall at the first hurdle as AMs vote on its general principles on Wednesday. The Bill, proposed by Welsh Conservative leader Paul Davies, has been opposed by the Welsh Government ever since its introduction. Supporters of the Bill say it would make services for people with autism spectrum disorder more consistent, but the Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has argued that it would take resources away from other conditions.

 

Committees

It’s a real mixed bag for the Assembly’s committees this week. On Wednesday, the Climate Change Committee will be hosting three evidence sessions on the UK Government’s Fisheries Bill and the Culture Committee will be holding annual scrutiny of National Museum Wales before an evidence session on supporting the Welsh language. Thursday sees the Health Committee take in four evidence sessions on work to eliminate Hepatitis C in Wales by 2030, while the Finance Committee will be considering the financial implications of the Welsh Government’s Legislation (Wales) Bill.

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