The BBC reports on the tied Budget vote in Wales here.
Adrian Masters on ITV reports on Labour’s reluctance to deal with the Tories here.
The Welsh Government has ruled out doing a budget deal with the Conservatives and will from now on only talk to Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.
It’s no surprise that a Labour government would find it difficult to reach any such agreement with the Conservatives, but it’s still a significant step to rule it out in public at this stage.
According to a Welsh Government source, talks with the other two parties have been ‘constructive and positive throughout’ even though they joined forces to defeat the government in the first Senedd vote on the budget proposals yesterday (Tuesday). That move is ‘understood’ as a negotiating tactic.
But the Conservatives’ wish list is dismissed – ‘they want to spend more money in every single area, in order to replicate what’s happening at Westminster,’ the source said.
Plaid are not very happy – from the Western Mail:
Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said: “What has been made very clear this afternoon, by voices from across the Assembly, is that this draft budget, in its current form, does not meet the needs of the people of Wales.
Plaid Cymru now hopes to continue to engage in constructive discussion with the government in order to reach an agreement.
The Government’s draft Budget doesn’t respond to the dire economic situation being faced by the people of Wales. The communities of Wales are currently in the middle of an economic crisis and we in Plaid Cymru are determined to force the Government to respond to that crisis”
So – what happens next?
Whilst negotiations continue in the Bay it’s worth pondering on Dafydd El’s thoughts from the Click on Wales site of the Institute of Welsh Affairs. A little bit prescient (from November the 3rd):
He said a coalition with Labour in the National Assembly would be inevitable during the present term. “We can’t carry on with 28 to 28 voting,” he said. “We’ve had ten of these votes already since May. Will we have a 28 to 28 split on the budget?”
He insisted that another Plaid Labour coalition was the only possibility. As he put it, “The other two parties are governing in another place.” Many in Plaid are wary of being seen to prop up Labour in the present term, preferring to go into the next election in 2016 with a clean sheet, unencumbered by association with another party and by a record of the difficult decisions that being in government inevitably brings. However, last night Dafydd Elis-Thomas said it was his party’s duty to aspire to be in government.
“We’re a political party that belongs to the people that live in Wales,” he said. “We are a sign of the sovereignty of the people of Wales. So Plaid Cymru should be in government as often as possible.”
It’s that blasted issue that’s blocking things:
How to win political support from a minority position in a Government? Really beats me to be honest.