Coronovirus – Assembly changes its rules to enable it to continue its work
The Assembly has today voted in favour of changing a series of Standing Orders to enable it to continue its vital work of scrutiny and legislation during this next period and in response to the Coronavirus situation.
The Assembly voted to:
- Enable an Acting Chair to chair Plenary with all the Presiding Officer's powers when the Llywydd and Deputy cannot attend the Assembly
- Elect a Designated Temporary Presiding Officer to act if the Llywydd and Deputy Presiding Officer were not in a position to act at all
- Choose David Melding, AM, as the Acting Chair and Designated Temporary Presiding Officer
- To allow Plenary to be a public meeting without the need to open the public gallery and to broadast for as long as possible
The Llywydd also announced a change to the order of Business next week and confirmed that Plenary will meet on one day only, on Wednesday, with morning and afternoon sessions.
This will enable First Minister's Questions to be conducted as normal, before Ministers make statements to update members on the latest effects of the Coronavirus on their policy areas. This will also limit the time Members have to spend in the Senedd.
The Llywydd said that the Business Committee was continuing to discuss ways of enabling the Assembly to meet and continue its work over the recess period to ensure that the Government was able to update Members and that opposition parties had the opportunity to scrutinise in a timely and appropriate manner.
Presenting the motion the Llywydd, Elin Jones AM said:
"These changes to Standing Orders are necessary to enable the Assembly to continue our work to the best of our ability in unprecedented circumstances."