AS CAMBRIA forecast a couple of weeks ago, it is not the Labour Party who will decide the issue of who becomes the next First Minister, writes Clive Betts from the press gallery.
The individual AMs will decide. Which opens up the possibility that the individual AMs will be able to reject whoever the Labour Party chooses as its leader.
When the question was asked of the Conservative and Lib Dem parties a couple of weeks ago, both doubted whether they would avail themselves of the tempting idea of trying to create chaos and vote down the new First Minister.
And when the same question was asked yesterday, the answer was – more or less – the same.
Quite simply, because the numbers don’t add up. Labour and Plaid would certainly vote together. Which would ensure an automatic majority for whichever name Labour puts forward.
The detail was spelled out in a briefing given by senior Assembly officials on Monday. The terms are reproduced in the Western Mail.
Briefly, every day the Assembly is trying to become more like the Mother of Parliaments – with all the sins, protocol and problems which that involves. And secrecy as to what goes on.
A name of the proposed new First Minister is put to the Assembly; the Assembly votes on it; having received and acceded to the resignation of the previous incumbent, the Queen must then receive the record of the vote of the Assembly; she then appoints Mr Carwyn Jones, Mrs Edwina Hart, or Mr Huw Lewis to the vacant position of First Minister. Well, not the two last named.
All a bit of a fandangle.
But it keeps the monarchists happy.
And the fax machines busy, too. Although, apparently, a formal letter will be sent as well. Let’s hope that a postman’s branch doesn’t chose that day to go on strike.
Let’s also hope that the Queen doesn’t get ill or go walkabout. Because that would delay the entire process. As it is, the Assembly officials have worked an extra day or so into their timetable for the new person to take over.