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  1. Nick Powell

Fresh challenge to Carwyn Jones from UKIP or Conservatives ruled out

The Assembly authorities have ruled out the possibility of the Conservative or UKIP leaders challenging Carwyn Jones in a vote for First Minister tomorrow.

AMs will meet to see if a fresh vote between Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood produces a different outcome.

The Plaid Cymru leader is expected to withdraw from the contest, which was tied 29-29 last week.

The first business at the next plenary will be a further roll call vote unless one of the candidates indicates that they want to withdraw their nomination, in which case the remaining candidate will be the Assembly’s nomination.

The Presiding Officer will immediately recommend to Her Majesty that the Member nominated by the Assembly be appointed as First Minister.

– National Assenmby for Wales

UKIP have said that they will "oppose the coronation of Carwyn Jones" and force a vote by putting up someone themselves.

As that is not possible, any protest would have to take the form of a procedural challenge -a token attempt to stop the nomination of First Minister going ahead.

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  1. Nick Powell

Plaid and Labour to "exchange ideas" but no M4 deal

Sources in both Labour and Plaid Cymru are suggesting that as well as reaching an agreement to nominate Carwyn Jones as First Minister they have agreed a mechanism for the parties to exchange information and ideas. They are confident of having found enough common ground already to make progress on some policies in the next 100 days.

Credit: PA

However, on one major area of disagreement between the two parties -the route of the M4 relief road- discussions seem to have made no progress. There are signs that they will adopt a joint approach to the UK government's new Wales Bill, which promises further devolution from Westminster.

If AMs can't agree on First Minister, there'll be another election

The Assembly authorities have issued guidance on how a failure to nominate a First Minister would eventually lead to a new election. Carwyn Jones remains in post for now -he serves "at Her Majesty's pleasure" but AMs have 28 days to either nominate him once again to the Queen or put forward somebody else. The 28 days began on polling day -May 5- and end on June 1.

The First Minister of Wales is the leader of the Welsh Government and is appointed by Her Majesty the Queen following nomination by Assembly Members.

A First Minister must be nominated by the Assembly within 28 days, so by the end of 1 June 2016. The First Minister is nominated by the Assembly and the nomination is submitted by the Presiding Officer for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's approval. She is responsible for appointing the First Minister. If a First Minister isn't nominated within 28 days of the election, another Welsh general election must be held.

The Presiding Officer, following consultation with the political parties, will notify Members of the date and time of the next Plenary meeting, where another vote by roll call can take place.

– National Assembly for Wales

Plaid Cymru: Why we were right to block Carwyn Jones

The Plaid Cymru Group in the Assembly has set out its reasons for Leanne Wood challenging Carwyn Jones' nomination as First Minister,

On May 5th, Wales chose not to elect one single party to govern Wales with a majority. As is the convention, the biggest party were given an opportunity to reach an agreement on forming a government which could lead Wales with the support of the majority of members in the National Assembly. They took the decision not to pursue that option, and were not prepared to give the process of negotiation any further time. As a result, the Plaid Cymru group followed normal Parliamentary protocol and nominated Leanne Wood for First Minister. Carwyn Jones was informed of this decision yesterday. Since that time, and as far as Plaid Cymru is aware, there have been no formal discussions, agreements or deals pursued between any party. This afternoon, the Assembly failed to reach agreement on who should become First Minister and form the next government. It is now for the parties to discuss this matter further in order to seek the best outcome for Wales.

– Plaid Cymru Group Spokesperson
  1. Nick Powell

Welsh Government produces its own version of the draft Wales Bill

Carwyn Jones claimed that his bill would offer a 'stable' devolution settlement Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The Welsh Government has produced its own version of the draft Wales Bill, as an alternative to the proposals for further devolution that were 'paused' by the Welsh Secretary last week. Unveiling his 'Government and Laws in Wales Bill', First Minister Carwyn Jones claimed that it would deliver a stable, long-term devolution settlement for the people of Wales.

It includes substantially fewer 'reserved matters' -powers to be retained by Westminster. It also provides for further devolution in future, with the Welsh Government eventually gaining control of policing and the courts. The bill would immediately create a distinct legal jurisdiction for Wales.

Whilst it was the right decision for the UK Government to pause and reflect on their proposed Wales Bill, we are still deeply concerned at the lack of consultation and involvement in the process. So today, in the spirit of constructive collaboration and co-operation, we have published a comprehensive made-in-Wales alternative Bill which addresses those concerns, and provides a stable, long term solution to the future governance of Wales. We hope the UK Government will use the space created by the pause on their Bill to engage constructively with our proposals and believe it offers solutions to many of the difficult issues we currently face. This is the Bill we could still deliver together.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

The immediate response on behalf of the Welsh Secretary suggested that it was unlikely that many of the First Minister's proposals would be incorporated into the actual Wales Bill.

The Secretary of State has already announced changes to the Wales Bill that will command broad support and deliver a stronger devolution settlement for Wales. As part of the St David’s Day process, Welsh Labour specifically ruled out devolving policing and creating a separate legal jurisdiction. The fact is the Labour Party is split from top to bottom when it comes to devolution. This alternative Wales Bill is clearly a concession to Plaid Cymru ahead of the Assembly elections in which Labour is expected to lose seats.

– Spokesperson for Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb MP

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said the Welsh Government's bill wasn't worth the paper it was written on, as Labour MPs haven't put forward these proposals at Westminster.

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  1. Nick Powell

First Minister backs Syrian airstrikes if Prime Minister sets clear objectives

First Minister Carwyn Jones has given qualified support to the RAF bombing Isis targets in Syria but he told AMs that the Prime Minister needs to explain who would provide the forces on the ground to complete the task and bring peace.

Questioned by Conservative leader, Andrew RT Davies, the First Minister confirmed that he had no objection in principle to extending air raids on Iraq to include Syria.

There's no difference between Iraq and Syria at the moment, the border has effectively disappeared. What concerns me is that we should not do what happened in Iraq, more than a decade ago, to take military action without thinking what the end game is.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Mr Jones acknowledged that his view was different to some in the Labour party. Mr Davies told him that both as First Minister and as Labour's most senior elected politician he had a responsibility to ensure support for Britain's armed forces once they were sent into combat.

  1. Nick Powell

Wales won't get extra NHS money says First Minister

First Minister Carwyn Jones has told AMs that the Welsh Government will get almost no more money as a result of the UK Government's announcement of extra funding for the English NHS. Increases in England lead to matching percentage increases for Wales under the Barnett Formula but Mr Jones said they'd be cancelled out by cuts in other parts of the English health budget. The First Minister dismissed as naïve a call from the Conservative leader for any extra money to be given to the Welsh NHS.

Today the Chancellor has announced £3.8 billion worth of extra money for the English NHS in the next financial year. There will be a Barnett consequential for that uplift. Will you commit to ringfencing that money in the next budget round so that it is put into the Welsh NHS?

– Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies AM

Is he saying to us today that there will be a full consequential to Wales as a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review? Because our understanding is entirely different. What was being trailed on the radio this morning is that there will be cuts in public health and medical education and that money will be transferred to the NHS budget. There will be no consequential if that happens. So if he thinks there will be a consequential in those circumstances, I'm afraid his naïvety overtakes his perception.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM
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