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23/05/2016

Deadlock Broken – Carwyn Jones unveils cross-party cabinet following reappointment in the Senedd

 

Carwyn Jones
AM
was returned as First Minister after extended negotiations with Plaid
Cymru brokered a deal that resulted in the Welsh Nationalists withdrawing their
nomination. Despite protests from UKIP AM Mark Reckless, Mr Jones was elected
Wales’ leader unopposed.

This followed
astonishing scenes during the first plenary meeting on 11 May, which resulted
in a tied vote between Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood (29-29) for the role of
First Minster – an unprecedented situation since the Assembly’s creation in
1999. It even caught the newly elected Presiding Officer off guard, who could
be heard on the microphone asking her legal counsel for advice, saying “what
should I do now?”

Following his
reappointment on 18 May, the First Minister quickly announced his new-look cross
party cabinet, a team which are now tasked with implementing Welsh Labour,
Plaid Cymru and Welsh Liberal Democrat policies. It was the latter party that
also won big, despite only securing one assembly member in the fifth term of
the National Assembly. Kirsty Williams AM, who previously led her party
until it was almost wiped out in the devolved election a few weeks ago, becomes
Cabinet Secretary for Education and becomes the first non-Labour minister to
receive a brief since 2011.

Ken Skates
AM
also received a promotion, having been made Cabinet Secretary for the
Economy and Infrastructure following his service as a junior minister in the
previous Assembly. He will pick up on headline projects such as the M4 Relief
Road where his predecessor Edwina Heart left off following her retirement from
Welsh politics this year.

As many
already suspected, Carl Sargeant AM retains a ministerial post,
having spent the last five years guiding many  technical pieces of
legislation, including the Planning (Wales) Act, through the Welsh Assembly. Whilst
his title is Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Mr Sargeant has
the new responsibility over housing, and will be specifically responsible for
ensuring the construction of 200,000 new affordable homes
(a Liberal
Democrat policy chosen for implementation under the new cabinet arrangement).

Leslie
Griffiths AM
also has a new portfolio, having lost housing to Mr Sargeant,
and is the new Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs. Given the
Welsh Government’s emphasis on renewable energy, both with onshore wind and
solar as well as with the Tidal Lagoon proposals in Swansea Bay, Ms Griffiths
should have her hands full alongside other duties.

If the Fifth
Assembly carries on as how it started, it could very well be a turbulent five
years in Welsh Politics. However, as stability finally kicks in, Welsh Labour
will now seek to implement the tripartite deal brokered with the Welsh Liberal
Democrats and Plaid Cymru, the latter party still able to block legislation it
does not agree to. This includes an agreement to establish a Wales
development bank
and a devolved National Infrastructure
Commission
.

It is
currently unclear who has specific responsibility for planning policy at this
point. This will be fleshed out this week as further announcements on
individual responsibilities are made by the First Minister. Remarkable Group
will keep you posted once this is known via our twitter coverage.

For more
information on how the new Assembly and the resulting legislation will affect
your projects, or the services Remarkable’s dedicated Welsh team have to offer,
please contact Will Morgan by 029 2167 0468 or will.morgan@remarkablegroup.com.

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