Senedd presiding officer not attending coronation

time:2023-06-02 16:23:21source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center9

Senedd presiding officer Elin Jones has said she will not be attending the coronation of King Charles on Saturday.

The Plaid Cymru MS said "as a republican" it was "for others to celebrate a coronation".

Welsh Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies called it a "very surprising and disappointing decision" for someone whose role was "apolitical".

First Minister Mark Drakeford, also a republican, said he did not consider missing the event.

Mr Drakeford said this was because he would be there in his role as first minister of Wales and head of the Welsh government, and not in a "personal capacity".

Deputy Presiding Officer and Labour MS David Rees will represent the Senedd at the ceremony in Westminster Abbey, as will Mr Davies for the Welsh Conservatives but Plaid Cymru leader Adam cost will also not attend.

In a statement, the presiding officer, also known as the Llywydd, said: "I have taken a personal decision not to attend the coronation.

"The Senedd will be represented by the deputy presiding officer.

"As Llywydd I have engaged fully in all constitutional duties with the Head of State and will continue to do so.

"However, as a republican, I consider it is for others to celebrate a coronation.

"I wish the royal couple well in their years of service."

Mr Davies strongly criticised her decision, something party leader's very rarely do to presiding officers, asking if Ms Jones wanted a more political role.

"The position of Llywydd is apolitical, their role is to represent Members of the Senedd and the people of Wales, particularly on important state occasions, regardless of their personal views," he said.

"This is a very surprising and disappointing decision by the Llywydd, today.

"Just yesterday, the parliament over which Elin Jones presides unanimously passed a motion to congratulate the King and Queen Consort on their coronation this weekend.

"If the presiding officer wants a new political job instead, she should put forward her CV for the position of Plaid Cymru leader."

Plaid Cymru's leader Adam cost is in considerable difficulty after a report called for the party to "detoxify a culture of harassment, bullying and misogyny", and even a call for Labour to ditch its co-operation deal with Plaid by a former cabinet minister.

There was a similar rebuke from another former Labour minister Alun Davies, who said Ms Jones was "not there to exercise her own prejudices but to represent the whole of our parliament and our nation".

The presiding officer joined events to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the King's proclamation ceremony last year.

Asked in an interview if, as a republican, he had considered not attending the coronation, Mark Drakeford said: "No, because I'm there not as myself.

"I'm there as the first minister of Wales, as will be the first minister of Scotland and our equivalents in Northern Ireland as well.

"So I have my own views, which are well known and long-held, but I don't go there in my personal capacity.

"I go there as the head of the Welsh government."

Mr Drakeford said he hoped people would see a ceremony that "fully reflects the diversity of the United Kingdom".

"For the very first time, the Welsh language will be heard as part of the ceremony, there will be new music composed in Wales, there will be Welsh performers there," he said.

The "Coronation Kyrie" composed by Prof Paul Mealor from St Asaph, will be sung by Sir Bryn Terfel and the choir of Westminster Abbey.

"Compared to previous events, I think people in Wales taking an interest, I hope, will see today's Wales fully reflected in the way the ceremony has been mapped out."

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