Deadlock in Cardiff as Assembly members fail to elect a new First Minister.
The first meeting of the fifth Welsh Assembly ended in confusion and anger today as Assembly members failed to elect a new first minister.
The vote left Labour members furious with the party saying the ‘Plaid, UKIP & Tory stitch up betrays voters.’
Carwyn Jones was expecting to form a minority Labour government having won a clear mandate in the election last week winning 29 seats ahead of Plaid Cymru’s 12 seats, a bigger lead than Labour had over the Tories in 2011.
Conservative, Plaid Cymru and UKIP had other idea’s and threw their collective weight behind Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood who polled the same number of votes today as Mr Jones 29 each.
Welsh Labour’s Alun Davies said:
“Plaid Cymru have just fought an election campaign spending eight weeks saying they’d never do a deal with UKIP, or the Tories. They referred to UKIP as the “far right”. And yet today we’ve seen them stitching up a deal to try and form a government.
“The people of Blaenau Gwent, the Valleys and Wales will know they can never trust a word Plaid Cymru says in the future,” he said.
The only non-Labour Assembly members to vote for Mr Jones, Liberal Democrat AM Kirsty Williams held the trump card, had she cast her vote for the Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood she would have swung the balance away from Labour and installed Wood as first minister.
Clearly that wasn’t an option for Kirsty Williams, she said:
“I was not re-elected into the National Assembly to support a ragtag coalition made up of UKIP Assembly Members who at the moment can’t even agree with each other.
That is not my politics and not something I will even contemplate. I am disappointed that Plaid seem to think that is a viable option.
The reality that we have to face is that Labour have 29 Assembly Members. It is therefore clear that they have the strongest mandate from the people of Wales.”
The meeting of the assembly was adjourned until further notice, the parties will now go into talks in an attempt to break the stalemate.
Welsh Labour’s Alun Davies said:
“What we’ve seen today in an unseemly deal between two parties hurting from election defeat, and UKIP going along for the ride.
I can only imagine what the people in our steel communities are thinking today – they want answers and they want to see us working together to save their jobs.
What they’ve got is an unseemly spectacle and delay on the formation of a Government which would put all its energy in finding a sustainable future for the industry.
We’ve also a European referendum just 6 weeks away. Carwyn had asked all progressive parties to join together in fighting to remain in the EU.
Instead of that, Plaid have handed UKIP another day in the sun.”
A spokesman for Plaid Cymru said:
“On May 5th, Wales chose not to elect one single party to govern Wales with a majority.
As is the convention, the biggest party were given an opportunity to reach an agreement on forming a government which could lead Wales with the support of the majority of members in the National Assembly.
They took the decision not to pursue that option, and were not prepared to give the process of negotiation any further time.
As a result, the Plaid Cymru group followed normal Parliamentary protocol and nominated Leanne Wood for First Minister.
Carwyn Jones was informed of this decision yesterday.
Since that time, and as far as Plaid Cymru is aware, there have been no formal discussions, agreements or deals pursued between any party.
This afternoon, the Assembly failed to reach agreement on who should become First Minister and form the next government.
It is now for the parties to discuss this matter further in order to seek the best outcome for Wales.”
Welsh Conservatives said that 16% of voters backed the status quo and another five years of Labour and Having seen their share of the vote drop by 8%.
Many voters across Wales they say moved away from Labour last week and, crucially, the Party did not win a majority at the 2016 election.
A Conservative Spokesperson said:
“Labour had no divine right to assume the First Ministership today.
It is for new Assembly Members to explore, and discuss, the best way forward for the Welsh nation, which has for too long fallen behind the rest of the UK.
Certainly, I sense an appetite for a new kind of collaborative Welsh politics, and would welcome further discussions to build on those which led to today’s vote.
Our ambitious manifesto was packed full of ideas we believe could make a difference to people across the country.
As we analyse the impact of the new election results on Wales, Welsh Conservatives remain steadfastly committed to delivering for communities across the country.”
According to the Assembly a first minister must be appointed by 2nd June
The Assembly must nominate a First Minister within 28 days. If the Assembly fails to make a nomination within this period, then the Secretary of State for Wales is required to propose a day for the holding of an extraordinary general election. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com