Showdown nears over translation

Four AMs campaigning to keep a fully bilingual assembly record are insisting all 60 AMs vote on the issue next week.

The four rejected a deal allowing a full translation to be published in up to 10 days, not the current 24 hours.
They say the Assembly Commission has refused to meet them and not noted the concerns of politicians across parties.

The commission, responsible for AM’s facilities and services, originally hoped to save £250,000 a year by ending English to Welsh translation.

Under the commission’s plans, Welsh speeches will continue to be translated into English via a translation service

It has faced a barrage of criticism over the proposals, with the Welsh Language Board and Welsh Language Society objecting to them.

The four politicians leading opposition from AMs are Labour’s Alun Davies, Rhodri Glyn Thomas from Plaid Cymru, Conservative Paul Davies and Liberal Democrat Jenny Randerson.

They have tabled a motion criticising the way the affair has been handled and demanding a fundamental review of the issue.

If debated it would mean a showdown with the commission on the floor of the assembly.

In a statement, the AMs said there was cross-party consensus to continue full translation within 24 hours and they were “profoundly disappointed that the commission has not agreed to meet to discuss these matters and disappointed that the commission has not taken note of the feelings expressed on all sides of the chamber”.

Under the Government of Wales Act, a vote of the assembly can compel the commission to follow its will.

Before it can be debated the motion needs to be approved by the cross-party Business Committee, chaired by assembly Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas.

Lord Elis-Thomas also chairs the commission and has been at the forefront of moves to change the assembly’s translation arrangements

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