Coronavirus: National Assembly to hold its first ‘virtual’ parliamentary session

Published 31/03/2020   |   Last Updated 01/12/2020   |   Reading Time minutes

Due to the nation-wide restrictions designed to halt the spread of the Coronavirus, the National Assembly for Wales is changing how it works and a series of emergency provisions have been put in place so that essential Assembly business relating to COVID-19 can carry on.
Following last week’s smaller ‘Emergency Senedd’ meeting, the Assembly’s Business Committee has decided to switch to fully online ‘virtual’ plenary meetings using the video conferencing facility Zoom. 
This week’s Plenary meeting of the Assembly will begin at 2pm on Wednesday 1 April and will be chaired by the Llywydd, Elin Jones. AMs will hear statements from the First Minister, the Minister for Health and Social Services and the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, and will have the opportunity to ask questions.
Party groups have agreed to limit their attendance to the meeting, using the ‘Emergency Senedd’ model used for last week’s Plenary. Labour will nominate 6 Members to take part in the meeting; the Conservatives 3; Plaid Cymru 2; and the Brexit Party 1. Members who do not belong to a group are all entitled to attend.
Assembly rules have been amended so that only 4 Members are needed for votes at Plenary meetings to be valid. 
The National Assembly would usually now be in recess. However, due to the Coronavirus emergency and the urgent Welsh Government measures, the Assembly will continue to meet (virtually) to legislate and to scrutinise decision-makers. 
The Assembly’s Plenary meeting will be available to watch on afterwards.