Joe Atkinson looks ahead to this week’s business in the National Assembly for Wales.
After the defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal in the House of Commons last week, the Welsh Government responded by scrapping most business planned for this Tuesday and replacing it with statements on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on key sectors. After First Minister Mark Drakeford makes a statement responding to the latest developments, ministers will address AMs on the impact of no deal on: health and care services; transport; the environment, agriculture and fisheries; and public services. The Brexit Minister, Jeremy Miles, will then make a statement on the overall impact of no deal on Wales.
Older People’s Rights Bill
After Paul Davies’ proposed Autism (Wales) Bill fell after a stage one debate in the Senedd last week, his Welsh Conservative colleague Darren Millar will on Wednesday seek the Assembly’s backing to introduce an Older People’s Rights Bill. Mr Millar’s Bill would seek to embed a rights-based approach in the development, planning and delivery of public services affecting older people and place a duty on Welsh ministers to pay due regard to the United Nations Principles for Older Persons when making decisions that will affect older people’s lives. Mr Millar has pointed to cross-party support and the Welsh Government’s support for legislation to protect and promote older people’s rights in a January 2016 debate. It remains to be seen whether the government will back the proposal given its voting down of the Autism Bill and the volume of legislation moving through the Assembly.
‘Making the Most of Rainy Days’
Welsh Conservative Janet Finch-Saunders will lead a short debate on one of Wales’ most abundant natural resources – the rain. Her debate, entitled ‘Making the most of rainy days’, will focus on how Wales could make better use of its often-grey skies, and is likely to touch on using water more sustainably and perhaps the potential for rainfall to generate energy.
New Assembly Member
Delyth Jewell joins the Assembly as a Plaid Cymru regional member for South Wales East after the death of Steffan Lewis. Ms Jewell, who was returned as an AM last week and will be sworn in in due course, is a campaigner on women’s rights and international development for the charity ActionAid, having previously worked at Citizens Advice Cymru and Plaid’s Westminster group.
The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee begins its inquiry into voting rights for prisoners on Wednesday, taking evidence from Wales Governance Centre academics. Last week, the Centre published a study which claimed Wales has the highest imprisonment rate in western Europe. The External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee will be taking evidence from the Welsh Government’s new Minister for International Relations, Eluned Morgan, on Wales’ future relationship with Europe, while the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee will be hearing from leaders of the Cardiff and Swansea Bay city regions on the development of their respective city deals.
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Featured image: Tuncay via Flickr