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    08 March, 2006

    Assembly Diary

    The Royal opening of the new Assembly Building passed off well last week on St David’s Day. I thought that the official ceremony was simple and appropriate.

    It was quite right that the Assembly building should be opened by the Queen as Head of State. Rhodri Morgan’s speech seemed to go down well with everyone. The day was an important one for Wales – as well as the Royal dignitaries, and local representatives, such as the Mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taff, Councillor Emlyn Jenkins, there were Ambassadors from around the world. It is unusual to see the American Ambassador in Wales, which confirmed how seriously St David’s Day was being taken abroad – also, his wife has Welsh roots….

    There was one footnote I should report. At the official dinner to welcome the Ambassadors, I found myself seated between the Irish Consul and the Irish Ambassador. Given the rugby result the weekend before, I had to suggest politely that one subject was off limits!....

    The BBC also published a poll on how the Welsh public feels about the Assembly. 60% of people support the Assembly, with 21% wanting to keep it as it is, and 39% wanting it to be more powerful. Apparently 16% are in favour of independence and 20% want to abolish the Assembly completely….

    There have already been a number of approaches to me from organisations wishing to visit the new Assembly Building. The building itself is special, I think most visitors would agree. My office can help in making arrangements to visit. The best days, in terms of seeing things happen in the Assembly Chamber, are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, although these are also the busiest days. Nevertheless, it should be possible to see the building properly in operation. Thursdays there may be committees sitting, and again that means that you would have the opportunity to see decisions being taken. If you are interested in visiting the Assembly please contact Ceri in my office on 01443 682550….

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

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