Second 'virtual Senedd' to be held - this time with voting

A small number of AMs met via video conferencing last week Credit: National Assembly for Wales

Members of the National Assembly for Wales will hold a second 'virtual' meeting but this time there'll be more of them involved and they'll be able to vote.

Last week, the Assembly became the first parliament in the UK to use video conferencing for its main chamber session to enable statements from the First Minister and other cabinet members about the coronavirus situation along with questions from leading opposition figures.

Today (Wednesday) the number involved has been increased to 28, almost half of the Assembly's 60 members.

The political parties have agreed to share the numbers proportionately so that 12 Labour AMs can join in along with 6 Welsh Conservatives, 4 from Plaid Cymru and 2 from the Brexit Party. All independent members are entitled to join.

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The session will also be broadcast live from 1330 on the Assembly's Senedd TV platform and members will be able to vote.

They'll use a system whereby a representative of each party group will cast a vote on behalf of fellow group members.

The Assembly was pleased with its attempt last week which required considerable technical effort behind the scenes. It says that it's received enquiries from parliaments all over the world asking for information on how it was done.

While the meetings are set to continue in cyberspace for the foreseeable future, the Assembly's physical buildings will remain closed for longer than originally planned.

The Assembly Commission, the cross-party group which makes decisions on how the institution is run, has extended closure of the Senedd and Pierhead buildings along with planned face to face events until May 31st with the possibility it may have to extend it further.

It's exploring ways of engaging with the public using online communications.