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Senedd this week: Environment, obesity and crucial Brexit votes

We look at the major talking point in the National Assembly for Wales this week.

Focus on the Environment

The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, will be busy on Tuesday afternoon, giving two plenary statements to Assembly Members. First, she will address the Siambr on the Welsh Government’s support for forestry and later she will make a statement on flood and coastal erosion risk management. Expect plenty of focus on Wales’ environment quango Natural Resources Wales, which has come under intense scrutiny after a series of governance failures.

Obesity Strategy Scrutinised

On Thursday morning, AMs on the Children, Young People and Education Committee will scrutinise Dr Frank Atherton, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, on the Healthy Weight: Health Wales strategy. The strategy, which is currently out to consultation, is designed to tackle rising obesity levels. Last week, the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee published a report on children’s health and physical activity, which warned of a national crisis in children’s health after finding that Wales has some of the poorest levels of children’s physical activity and sedentariness in the world.

AMs Vote on UK Government Brexit Laws

On Tuesday afternoon the Assembly will vote on legislative consent motions on a pair of UK Government bills. Firstly, AMs will vote on whether to grant consent to the Trade Bill, which is designed to allow the UK to continue its existing trade policy as soon as it leaves the EU. Straight afterwards there will be a vote on the Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill, which would allow the UK to enter into reciprocal healthcare arrangements post-Brexit.

Reaction to Brexit votes

The most important votes will be at Westminster, where Theresa May is set to face another meaningful vote on her withdrawal agreement on Tuesday. If her Brexit deal is defeated again as it was in January, MPs will reconvene the following day to vote on whether to leave the EU without a deal. If a no deal is rejected, on Thursday there will be a third vote on whether to seek an extension to the Article 50 process, which could delay Brexit beyond the scheduled exit date of March 29. Expect plenty of reaction from Assembly Members on all sides of the Siambr as the political theatre plays out in London.

Ombudsman Bill faces Stage 3 Scrutiny

Wednesday afternoon will see a stage three scrutiny debate on the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Bill. The Bill has been designed to expand the Ombudsman’s powers to be able to take oral complaints and undertake own-initiative investigations.


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Feature image: fotologic via Flickr


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