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Politics, Welsh Government

Talks Tuesday: Welsh Budget latest

I freely admit that I’m guilty of over-selling with the title of this blogpost, but I have to lure you in somehow.

But it would be downright lying if I told you there was any kind of resolution to the deadlocked budget negotiations. At least that I know of.

The truth is we don’t know what the real state of negotiations is: only what the parties tell us and what we can pick up elsewhere. So here, in no particular order is what happened today. I think.

‘Talks Tuesday’ is as good enough a tag as any because there were some talks taking place.

First Minister Carwyn Jones certainly held a meeting with Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams. He left the Senedd chamber at 3.15, she left just before 3.30 so we can assume that’s when it took place. I know those timings because I was lurking in the Senedd.

I’ve no idea if it went well or not. All the Welsh Lib Dems will do is to confirm there was a meeting.

There was no such meeting with Plaid Cymru, at least not by the end of business. And sources close to the leader Ieuan Wyn Jones told me there was no sign of a deal.

Another senior Plaid source branded Labour’s approach to negotiations ‘sluggish’ and bemoaned a lack of movement by Carwyn Jones. The party’s waiting for yet more clarification of figures.

Meanwhile the three opposition leaders had arranged a meeting to try to flesh out the costs and implications of the four priorities they set out in their joint amendment to the draft budget.

But that didn’t seem to go according to plan. Kirsty Williams didn’t make it to the meeting which led one source to wonder if that was a sign of her meeting with Carwyn Jones going well.

In face she had to return to the chamber to speak in a debate and her business manager Peter Black AM went in her place for some of the meeting.

But Peter Black told me via twitter that Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies didn’t attend either.

It turns out he did appear – at the end of the meeting – but his place was taken throughout by the group’s deputy leader, Paul Davies.

And what of the one leader who was present for all of it? On Friday, party sources were telling me that Ieuan Wyn Jones wasn’t expecting much from the get-together.

Today they were telling me that his main aim was to squash any talk (coming from the Conservatives they say) of producing an alternative budget.

I’m told the Conservatives were told that if they wanted to go down that road, they do so on their own.

There you go. That’s what I’ve learned today. Make of it what you will. It’ll all change tomorrow.

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About Adrian Masters

By day, Political Editor at ITV Wales. By night, obsessed with music and books.

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