There is to be an opportunity for Penarth residents to see and hear from some – possibly all – of the candidates vying for their vote in the forthcoming elections for the Welsh Assembly.
The Penarth Woodcraft Folk – the local charity that encourages children and young people to participate in society – is following-up on the success of last year’s General Election public hustings by holding a Welsh Assembly Election Hustings on Saturday April 16th.
The Woodcraft public hustings will be held in the Small Hall of All Saints Church at Victoria Square, Penarth from 14:30 to 17:00 on April 16th – the same weekend as “Picnic Penarth” is being held at nearby Station Approach.
The organiser, John Rogan says the hall has a capacity of up to 120 – making it “a perfect venue for young people to raise issues that concern them, particularly education.
Mr Rogan says young people had thoroughly enjoyed the General Election Hustings held in April last year and had been “glad to be able to question politicians face to face” – or as one 13-year-old had told him afterwards “to see them squirm in their seats”.
The proximity of Picnic Penarth that same weekend is seen as being more of an asset than a problem . Penarth Woodcraft Folk say “We think it would be a great idea to promote the hustings as somewhere to go – and then any ‘lively debates’ can continue at the picnic”.
One of the complications for the Penarth Woodcraft Folk organisers, in assembling a panel of Welsh Assembly candidates for a public hustings meeting, is the labyrinthine two-stage Assembly-Election process – in which every elector takes part in what are in-effect two separate Assembly Elections :-
- One vote is for a single candidate to represent the Cardiff South and Penarth Assembly Constituency in what is a traditional first-past-the-post election – similar to electing an MP. So far four candidates have declared their intention to run in this race:-
- Ben Gray (Conservative),
- Anthony Slaughter (Green)
- Vaughan Gething (Labour)
- Dafydd Trystan Davies (Plaid)
- Voters however also complete a second ballot paper for what is called a “regional closed party list of candidates” for the South Wales Central Constituency (of which Penarth is a part). In this election so-called “Additional Member” seats are allocated by the d’Hondt method . Candidates so far nominated to run in this contest are :-
- (Conservative) 1 Andrew R T Davies, 2 David Melding 3 Richard John 4 Keith Dewhurst
- (Green) 1 Amelia Womack, 2 Anthony Slaughter, 3 Hannah Pudner, 4 Chris von Ruhland
- (Labour) 1 Belinda Robertson
- (Plaid Cymru) 1 Leanne Wood, 2 Neil McEvoy, 3 Dafydd Trystan Davies
- (UKIP) 1 Gareth Bennet, 2 Alexandra Phillips, 3 Mohammad Islam, 4 Liz Wilkes
Despite frequent assertions that only the Cardiff South Penarth Assembly Member “really matters” and that the South Wales Central Members are somehow “second class AMs” – in fact all elected AMs are of equal status. Andrew R T Davies (Conservative) and Leanne Wood (Plaid) are both the leaders of their respective parties.
The Welsh Assembly Elections will be held on May 5th 2016 (the same day as the Police and Crime Commissioner Election). Nominations for the Welsh Assembly Elections close on April 7th 2016 so there may well be further names – and parties – to add to the list before that date.