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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.

  1. Nick Powell

Plaid "unfit for government" say Labour

Labour have accused Plaid Cymru of bringing the Assembly into disrepute, following the defeat of the Public Health Bill.

The decision from Plaid today smacks of a party unfit for Government. The only thing that has changed since last week's Stage 3 vote on the Public Health Bill is a single off-the-cuff remark in a jokey final plenary session. To vote down an important Bill on this basis alone simply brings the entire institution into disrepute. People in Wales have just lost a series of important new health measures, which had been worked upon for years. We could have broken the pairing agreement to get this through, but that is not the way we do business. Elin Jones has clearly been put in an impossible position by her group and that is deeply regrettable as she has done so much to shape the final proposals.

– Welsh Labour source

The Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, said he was "deeply disappointed" and predicted "widespread anger" at the bill's defeat. He said five years of careful preparation had been wasted.

[The Public Health Bill] would have introduced important new measures to improve the provision of pharmacy services across Wales and the provision of public toilets for young and old. It would have introduced a ban on intimate piercing for children under 16 and new outdoor smoke-free places in hospital grounds, children's playgrounds and schools.

– Health Minister Mark Drakford AM

Mr Drakeford also defended the controversial attempt to restrict the use of e-cigarettes, which are seen by many AMs as a way of helping people to stop smoking. He said he'd wanted to "protect a generation who have grown up in a smoke-free environment from re-normalising smoking".


  1. Nick Powell

Labour-Plaid deal delays council shake-up

Labour and Plaid Cymru have reached a deal that will see the Welsh Government's local government bill become law. The Public Service Minister, Leighton Andrews, has agreed with his Plaid Cymru shadow, Simon Thomas, that there will be no move to force councils to mereg until after next year's Assembly election.

Plaid Cymru has stopped Labour from enforcing their map for local government reorganisation through the back door before plans are put to people. Large scale changes to Local Government structures should not be decided by politicians with no mandate but should be decided by people in an election.

The demands made by Plaid Cymru will mean that all parties can present their individual proposals in their manifestos and seek a mandate to implement them, without being bound by the current government’s preferences.

– Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM

I’d like to thank Simon Thomas and his Plaid Cymru colleagues for the constructive approach they’ve taken on this matter. It is clear that status quo is not an option for local government, and an important part of the framework can now be put in place for much needed reform. It is now down to each political party to set our their proposals in the coming election.

– Public Services Bill Leighton Andrews AM

The other opposition parties have poured scorn on the deal, accusing Plaid Cymru of selling out to Labour.

Plaid’s leader has happily cosied up and done a deal with them. We should’ve expected nothing less than this astonishing hypocrisy. You’d be hard pushed to make it up.

Thanks to Plaid and Labour, local people won’t get a say on the future of our councils. Thanks to them, councils could now be forced to merge.

Vote Plaid – Get Labour. It’s that simple - and this disregard for Welsh communities is concrete evidence.

– Shadow Local Government Minister, Janet Finch-Saunders AM

Plaid have sold out, but received absolutely nothing in return. It’s bizarre. Their embarrassing u-turn is based on smoke and mirrors. They have achieved literally nothing. There is no commitment for a fair voting system and it was always the case that mergers were not going to happen before the Assembly election.

– Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Peter Black AM
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