Penarth’s Conservative Assembly Member Andrew R T Davies told the Welsh Assembly that it was “Groundhog Day” again as Plaid Cymru confirmed it’s done a deal to keep Labour in power – and Labour leader Carwyn Jones in office – for another 5 years .
Davies – who represents the South Wales Central constituency (which includes Penarth) – told Carwyn Jones he should now bring forward an early statement to “map out and clarify” what its plans are on local government reform .[The contentious proposal for the merger of the Vale of Glamorgan with Cardiff being one of the most pressing issues]
Carwyn Jones was formally re-installed as First Minister after Plaid Cymru announced it was withdrawing the candidature of its leader Leanne Wood following a week of secret negotiations after last week’s tied vote.
The First Minister in his acceptance speech claimed that “For the fifth time in a row the Welsh people have asked Welsh Labour to form the next government”.
This assertion was rebutted by UKIP’s Assembly Leader Neil Hamilton . He told members “The First Minister said in his statement that the Welsh people had asked for a Labour government in the results of this election.” Hamilton wondered if Carwyn Jones had actually looked at the results.
Hamilton pointed out that Labour had only got “34.7% of the vote in the Constituency Section and only 31.5% of the vote in the Regional Lists”. He said two-thirds of the people in Wales had voted against Labour in the Assembly Elections. That – said Hamilton – was no mandate for a Labour Government. Wales had, he said, “actually voted for change – and not the status quo”.
Hamilton caused consternation when he said that the sole Lib Dem AM Kirsty Williams (Lib Dem Brecon and Radnor) and Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood had “propped up this tottering administration and had frustrated the desire of the Welsh people to bring about change “.
He said that in Kirsty Williams’s constituency of Brecon and Radnor, 92% had voted against Labour and yet Williams had “confirmed the First Minister in place” [ Williams gave her support to Labour to bring them to 29 seats – thereby equal with the 29 seats held by opposition parties] .
Hamilton said that in Rhondda – where Leanne Wood (Plaid) had beaten Leighton Andrews (Labour) – Andrews had seen his vote collapse from 63% to 36% . That, Hamilton said, was “no vote of confidence in the Labour Party” . Leanne Wood however – in coming to a deal with Labour- had “done the opposite of what her voters wanted”. The two ladies were, he said “Political concubines in Carwyn’s harem” .
The politically-correct faux-outrage from AMs in the chamber grew louder when Hamilton went on to say that now, instead of having decisions made in “full transparency“, there would be a series of shadowy committees doing “dodgy deals behind the scenes“ from which other minority parties would be excluded .
He said that in the last week’s negotiations the power that Leanne Wood had had in her hands – supported as she was by the Conservatives and UKIP – had “not been used to its full potential”.
But Hamilton did say he was sorry… sorry, that is, that Plaid Cymru had adopted what he called “a bigoted approach“ to the seven UKIP AMs. More faux-outrage ensued.
The Llywydd (Speaker) Elin Jones intervened to say she did not think any “bigoted remarks had been made by anybody” .
Undaunted, Hamilton pointed out “Leanne Wood has said that she would not, under any circumstances, work with UKIP . That seems to me to be so exclusive a remark that it could easily be described as bigotry – that we’re ‘untouchable’ . Well, 15% of the Welsh electorate don’t think we’re untouchable. They voted for us” and Leanne Wood’s remark had been “an insult not to UKIP MPs, but to UKIP voters.”
[ PDN Note: Plaid Cymru doctrine had also ruled out doing any deal with the Conservatives – but nevertheless Plaid had been supported by both UKIP and the Conservatives in last week’s three-party challenge to Carwyn Jones]