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Just a minute (and a half)

Valerie Livingston considers the Assembly's new 90 second statements

New Presiding Officer (Elin Jones) continues to make her mark on Assembly proceedings, opening up more opportunities for backbenchers to set the agenda.

This week saw 5 Urgent Questions – more than one was highly unusual in the Fourth Assembly.

Wednesday also saw the National Assembly for Wales’ first 90 Second Statements.

Borrowing the idea from legislatures in Canada and Australia, this five-minute slot allows three backbenchers to speak on a subject of their choosing for 90 seconds.

Jeremy Miles (Neath)(Lab) spoke on the history of the Neath Abbey Iron Works which he described as a “jewel of Welsh economic heritage”. John Griffiths (Newport East)(Lab) considered upcoming commemorations of the Chartist Uprising in Newport while Caroline Jones (South Wales West)(UKIP) spoke about the Sandville self-help centre in Torfaen.

These statements are far from revolutionary. Unlike short debates, they do not require responses from Welsh Government Ministers so do little to elicit new information or progress debate. That said, they are a great opportunity to get issues on the record and share some of Wales’ success stories in the Assembly.

If Team NDW could make a suggestion to Y Llywydd it would be to consider moving the slot. Sandwiched between Portfolio Questions and Opposition Debates, they got a bit lost this week. Why not schedule them before FMQs? This would give them a bit of prominence and set a more positive tone for the week.

newsdirect wales is a political monitoring company. We watch everything that happens in the Assembly - from 90 second statements to Budget scrutiny committees - and report back to our clients so they never miss a development or an opportunity to influence. Want to know more? Call us on 029 2009 0693.

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