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Absentee politicians

Only 40 Assembly Members vote

Only 40 Assembly Members vote

A third of Assembly Members were absent from important votes.

The National Assembly usually takes all votes towards the end of the day. Yesterday was no exception. But what was exceptional was the vote – a third of the Assembly were missing.

There may be valid reason why some were missing, but twenty is a lot from a sixty member Assembly.

Is it coincident that it happens at the time of the general election? Hardly, me thinks.

It’s understandable that politicians would want to campaign. But lots of people take part in election campaigns but they don’t leave their day jobs.

Most political activists either book holidays or loose pay if they take time off in the working day to campaign.

Most do it in their own time.

Assembly Members are paid by the taxpayer to do a job of work. If they’re not there and are campaigning they should give up their pay.

Campaign for more Assembly Members

Over worked and under resourced, is the bleat heard often by Members.

A compelling case can be made for many more Assembly members to deal properly with the laws that are being made in this relatively new institution.

As indeed is the need to have sufficient members to properly scrutinise the Welsh Government. And God knows all governments need a watchful eye to be kept on their activities.

But by playing hooky as many did yesterday, they’ve pulled the rug from under the feet of those that are campaigning for more Assembly Members.

Not least the Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler who has been an articulate advocate for more Members.

Unnecessary absences should not be tolerated.  If kids are absent from school the parents are held to account. Assembly Members should also be held to account.

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