First Minister quizzed by AMs

The First Minister has faced a committee of Assembly Members for the first time since the Welsh Election in May 2011. They were questioning about his government's legislative programme, its relations with the UK Government and what it's doing to promote enterprise.

Carwyn Jones acknowledged that Welsh Government civil servants need more experience drawing up bills. He said the loss of 1,000 civil servants has made the job of developing legislation 'challenging.'

He told the committee that despite that he's seen 'no problems' in drafting or developing policy and that the civil service had come very far since 1999 when, he said, it would have been incapable of developing legislation. But in written evidence given to the committee in advance, he said:

However I recognise that the capacity and capability of our civil service to deliver the legislative programme needs to be strengthened. There are fewer officials than there were before, and many of them have not developed primary legislation before. For those that have legislative experience this has generally been in the context of working with Whitehall Departments on legislation to be passed by Parliament for or in relation to Wales.

Conservative AM Paul Davies asked if one recent bill which was accompanied by 140 government amendments was evidence that legislation wasn't being drawn up properly. The First Minister said that was normal practice in Westminster as legislation went through Parliament.

Carwyn Jones also acknowledged that his government could do more to involve organisations and members of the public when it draws up Welsh bills. He told the committee that 'this is a system we had to learn.'

Members of the committee wanted to know if there had been 'a breakdown of communications' between the UK and Welsh Governments over Welsh legislation.

Liberal Democrat AM Eluned Parrott was asking about a recent decision by the UK Attorney General to refer the Welsh Government's first bill to the Supreme Court. You can watch the exchange below: