Welsh Senedd should lead the way in ‘modern, democratic’ response to coronavirus crisis – ERS

Posted on the 17th March 2020

  • For immediate release, Tuesday 17th March 2020. Statement from Electoral Reform Society Cymru. Contact Josiah on [email protected] / 07717211630 for info/comment or bids

Responding to the Welsh Assembly’s Business Committee’s decision [1] to suspend all non-time-critical business for the time being, Jess Blair, Director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru, said:

“This is an understandable response from the Business Committee at a time of crisis. The priority must now be to ensure adequate scrutiny and good governance while keeping members and staff safe. That means the Senedd authorities should look at how to lead the way in proposing modern, democratic solutions – such as members voting from home and holding committee meetings remotely where necessary.

“Major, life-changing decisions will be made by Welsh Government in coming weeks that mean parties must work together while ensuring backbench scrutiny does not fall of a cliff when it is most needed.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Full Business Committee statement:

Assembly Business revised to prioritise COVID-19

Spokesperson on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales says:

“The Assembly’s Business Committee has decided to suspend all non-time-critical business for the time being. The Senedd building will also close to all visitors with immediate effect. All proceedings will be available to the public live online at Senedd.TV. The decision to close the Senedd to all visitors has been taken in order to protect the public, staff and members in line with latest guidelines issued by Welsh Government and UK Government.

“Today’s Plenary meeting has been revised to prioritise Welsh Government statements relating to the developing COVID-19 outbreak. First Minister’s Questions will go ahead, followed by Business Statement and then three 60 minute statements delivered by Welsh Government Health Minister Vaughan Gething; Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates; and Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James.

“Assembly Committees are revising their activity and schedules to prioritise their work.

“The Assembly is monitoring the situation closely, and all decisions and operations will continue to be reviewed in line with any updated guidance from the Welsh Government.”

ENDS

The ERS are the UK’s leading pro-democracy campaign group, standing up for voters and a fairer political system. 

The Society publishes high-profile research by experts, assessing the health of British democracy, and championing the need for proportional representation and constitutional reform. 

Read the ERS’ new report on the 2019 General Election: https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/latest-news-and-research/media-centre/press-releases/report-on-decembers-general-election-reveals-scale-of-tactical-voting-and-voters-systematically-ignored/

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