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A tiny horse walks into the Senedd...

Pic: National Assembly for Wales Flickr

So, here at newsdirect wales we watch every plenary and committee session live. Over the past few years, discussion really has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Here are just a few of the bits that have made us chuckle during the Fourth National Assembly for Wales.

On 25th March 2014 to a rowdy plenary session, Presiding Officer (Rosemary Butler): “Order. Is it somebody’s birthday party today or are we just particularly jolly?”

And it wasn’t a one off. Responding to a noisy chamber at the last FMQs a before the summer in July 2015, the Presiding Officer admonished the particularly loud AMs: “I know it’s the last session before the recess, but I don’t want you shouting enough for the whole of the 8 weeks you’re not going to be here”.

On January 14th 2015, Presiding Officer (Rosemary Butler) handed over to Minister for Natural Resources (Carl Sargeant) to amend a particularly old piece of legislation: We move to item 7, which is the legislative consent motion on the Deregulation Bill—amendment in relation to British Fishing Boats Act 1983, Fisheries Act 1868 and Fisheries Act 1891. I am going to ask Carl Sargeant to move the motion, as he was there when it was agreed, I think…”

Nick Ramsay (Monmouth)(Con) regularly seemed to have wandered in from the Glee Club.  

On Wednesday 21st October 2015, Nick Ramsay said: “It’s Back to the Future Day today. In the words of Dr Emmett Brown, ‘where we’re going, we don’t need roads!’ Unfortunately, Minister, we still do. Moving on to the M4….”

Minister for Economy, Science & Transport (Edwina Hart): “Are you talking about hover boards?”

On 26th November 2015, Mr Ramsay tried flattery with Finance Minister (Jane Hutt) instead: “Minister, I always appreciate your updates on your budget tour around Wales. You seem, to me, to have been touring longer than the Rolling Stones. In terms of your budget tour, that is, of course… But you still seem to be enjoying it. I have, this morning, looked through your ‘Budget Tour 2015—investing in the Wales We Want’. I must, say, Minister, that you are one of the few people that takes a good photo eating spaghetti—probably a better photo to have taken than eating a bacon sandwich.”

Getting philosophical at Finance Committee on 2nd October 2014, Mr Ramsay said: “There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes and Ann Jones’ ongoing support for hypothecation of local government funding.”

Commenting on his time out of Government on 3rd February 2015, Minister for Public Services (Leighton Andrews) said: “When I was on the backbenches, during what I call my Gap Year…..”

25th November 2014: In Petitions Committee…

Russell George: “I’d suggest we write back to the Minister [Minister for Economy, Science and Transport (Edwina Hart)] perhaps a bit more forcefully?”

William Powell: I’m reluctant to contemplate being forceful with the Minister…”

Russell George: Well I can suggest that because your name is at the bottom of it, not mine…”

While on Tuesday 8th March 2016, Mohammad Ashgar (South Wales East)(Con) confirms that he feels fulfilled in his role as AM, tweeting: “Had a hectic day today early morning start with CPA,PAC,Plenary and now debate..LOVE IT!”

Just what was Minister for Health & Social Services (Mark Drakeford) trying to say in his statement on the Public Health Bill on 7th October 2014? “There are people who want us to include colonic irrigation. Whatever that might be. I don’t know! Certainly, I don’t know. And other things which I hope Members in this Chamber are not familiar with.”

On 3rd December 2014 Chair Alun Ffred Jones (Arfon)(PC) offered some reassuring advice to a witness struggling with the translation in Environment & Sustainability Committee: “Don’t touch the buttons. They might explode.”

In the Finance Committee on 3rd February 2016, Jocelyn Davies (South Wales West)(PC) outlined the difficulties ahead for the civil service as parties set out the Bills they wish to introduce… “You can either do things by the law or do things by policy, or do things with money and there is a temptation then to create other mechanisms, and other political parties will not give a rat’s *** about how difficult it is for you, the civil service, to deliver Regulatory Impact Assessments when they put forward their manifestos that they take out to the country; it certainly wouldn’t be the top of my agenda”.

Sir Derek Jones, Permanent Secretary: “I’m glad you said that Chair, rather than me”.

It’s not evolution, it’s not devolution… it’s Steve-olution.”Prime Minister (David Cameron) praises Secretary of State for Wales (Stephen Crabb) for his part in securing the St David’s Day Agreement on 27th February 2015.

And on Wednesday 25th March 2015, Darren Millar (Clwyd West)(Con) made an impressively pun-filled contribution to a debate on the creative industries: “I have to say as well—I just want to put on record—how disappointed I was that there was a decision taken to rule out the use of this Chamber as a venue for a 007 production. […] I was left very shaken and stirred by the decision. I have to say, I know the decision lay with the Presiding Officer, but why should it be for her eyes only? Frankly, I think that giving the Presiding Officer only a licence to kill these things off is entirely inappropriate. It’s not good enough, and we need to have a better policy that all Assembly Members can be consulted on, so that we can have the opportunity to give our views on whether these sorts of productions ought to be allowed into the Chamber in the future, especially given that there could be an economic driver benefit, which reduces costs to the taxpayer of the use of this building. We know that the House of Commons changed its policy a couple of years ago, and now allows drama productions to take place in the House of Commons Chamber. That was a wise decision; there is a benefit to the public purse as a result, and I want to see those sorts of benefits to the Welsh public purse as well. I certainly have zero quantum of solace in the decision-making process to date, and I want to see that change again in the future. I can think, frankly, of no better venue to portray the headquarters of a group of villains in terms of SPECTRE’s headquarters.”

newsdirect wales is a bespoke political monitoring service. We save our clients time, sending daily and weekly political briefings tailored to their interests.

If you'd like to know more about how newsdirect can help you and your team as we enter the Fifth National Assembly, email valerie@newsdirectwales.com. Her response may or may not involve puns. 

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