He’s alright folks: Labour’s Carwyn Jones is re-elected as Welsh First Minister
19 May 2016, Blog
Last week, saw Labour’s Carwyn Jones’ bid to be reappointed Welsh First Minister fail when Plaid Cymru’s Leader, Leanne Wood surprisingly challenged him. In the vote that followed in the Assembly, there was a tie – 29-29. The tie was caused due to the Conservatives and UKIP supporting Wood’s election attempt.
Following talks between the two largest parties in the Welsh Senedd, Labour and Plaid Cymru, the deadlock has been broken and Carwyn Jones has been reappointed Welsh First Minister.
Jones, following his re-appointment said that Welsh Labour would “proceed with caution and humility”. Jones also spoke of ushering in a new era for Welsh Politics where the Senedd will be “more open and confident”. To this end, Jones announced that they will not be putting forward any new legislation in the first 100 days, giving political groups in the Assembly time to adjust to the new way of working as a result of Labour’s minority status.
Jones also confirmed that Plaid Cymru will be the main opposition in Wales. This was echoed by Leanne Wood stating that Plaid’s support was a one off and not the start of a coalition, or a “confidence and supply” arrangement. Indeed, Wood went so far as to state that Plaid would actively oppose Welsh Labour should they ‘forget they’re in a minority government again”.
Jones also confirmed that the Welsh Government will be firmly campaigning to remain in the European Union much to UKIP’s disappointment.
View from JBP: Welsh Labour have a newfound humility. The shot across the bows sent last week by the opposition parties ensured that.
In light of the announcement, made today in the Queen’s speech, that revised plans for the future of Welsh Devolution will be presented to MPs this year, the minority Labour administration needs to show cross-party collaboration to strengthen their negotiation with Central Government.
Elsewhere at the Senedd expect UKIP to be the jokers in the pack. Now there are 7 AMs they will be influential voice if they can maintain unity under leadership of Neil Hamilton.
Plaid are in interesting reputational position. Last week having been accused of being part of a “stitch up” with Tories and UKIP (unlikely bed-fellows) over their opposition to re-election of Carwyn Jones. As Wood’s rightly stated the Welsh people do not like drama and to cause undue stalemate in the Assembly would ultimately be to a parties own detriment.
Do the events of this week show they realise they made a strategic error and wish to be seen as “king makers”?
By Nikki Knowles, Senior Account Executive