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Virtual Senedd going live, on Wednesday 8 April

03/04/2020

The National Assembly for Wales will hold its second ‘virtual’ Plenary meeting next Wednesday (8 April). 

The second meeting will include more Members, will be broadcast live on Senedd.tv and include a vote for the first time. 

The meeting on Wednesday 8 April will be chaired by Llywydd Elin Jones AM, with Welsh Government Ministers and up to 28 (of the 60) Assembly Members contributing from all over Wales using the video conferencing platform Zoom. 

The first ‘virtual’ Plenary meeting, the first parliamentary session to be held by video-conferencing in the UK, was held on Wednesday 1 April. Attendance was decided using the Emergency Senedd model, allowing for 16 Members, and the session was made available in full on Senedd.tv at the end of the meeting.  

The session will hear statements from the First Minister, Mark Drakeford and the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths as they update Assembly Members on the latest regarding the response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Members will also vote for the first time in a virtual meeting, following the stage 1 debate on the Local Government and Elections Bill – which would allow 16 year olds to vote in local government elections. 

The agenda also allows for other time-critical business to take place including Stage 1 consideration of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill – which would lower the voting age to 16 years old in local government elections from 2021. 

An allocation has been made to allow 28 Members to attend, ensuring fair representation for each party: 12 Members can attend on behalf of Welsh Labour, 6 for Welsh Conservatives, 4 Plaid Cymru and 2 Brexit. Party groups will decide on their attendance and Members who do not belong to a group are all entitled to attend. Voting will be done using weighted voting by roll call where a representative of each party group will cast votes on behalf of all members of the group.

Business Committee agreed that the Assembly will go in to recess for a week following Easter, with the next virtual meeting scheduled for 22 April.  

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