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The Codfather

Betsan Powys | 16:22 UK time, Friday, 21 September 2007

Ah you thought you'd got me but no, the Codfather is yet another Canton chippie - a rather good one apparently so next time I'm home too late to cook, you know where I'll be heading.

But talking about the Codfather ... the Chief Whip, Carl Sargeant, is a big bloke. The AM for Alyn and Deeside may not be a member of the Cabinet in this brave new coalition world but he still attends Cabinet meetings and like all whips, it's his job to enforce party discipline. He actually seems like rather a nice bloke but put it like this, if I was a Labour AM who'd upset 'the family', I'm not sure I'd want to bump into him in a dark Senedd corridor.

But at the reception to mark a decade since the referendum on devolution, I started to think I should get to know him a lot better. A story was doing the rounds, that all the party whips were to paid a new allowance, based on the number of AMs in their group. A figure was mentioned of a £1000 per head. Wow. You work it out. Pretty good going if you're Labour's man, not bad at all if you're Plaid's Chris Franks either. William Graham would be ok for a couple of quid and though the Lib Dems don't have a whip, Kirsty Williams is their business manager so at a guess, she'd be the one smiling.

A quick call to my colleagues in Scotland and Ireland and I'm told that no, their whips get nothing. But then the phone rings again when a pair of sharp eyes in Belfast notices that on Monday, the Stormont Assembly will be discussing a proposal to pay an extra £160,000 a year to support the party whips. The money will be divided between the parties on the basis of their strength in the Assembly and will be used to pay for secretarial or administrative staff. Where will the money come from? From the Assembly Commission.

So is our Assembly Commission considering something similar? Sounds like it, as long as the parties can come to a political agreement first. So is the plan to pay the whips, or to ringfence the money for secretarial support? When they've worked it all out, I'll let you know.

What a party that would be ... four whips and a wad.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:52 PM on 23 Sep 2007,
  • noel adams wrote:

Thanks for the heads up on this Betsan, here in N.Ireland the most used one liner of MLAs is alevel playing field. However AMs support for whips office sugested at £1000but in Belfast the damage would be £1500.Now where did I leave that builders level.

  • 2.
  • At 08:50 AM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • noel adams wrote:

With the favoured one liner here in N Ireland beeing a level playing field howcome support per MLA will be £1500 but for each AM only £1000.
The bigger a business the more economey of scale so N Ireland should be less not more. Now where did that spirit level get to.

"Four whips and a wad." Sounds like the name of a knocking shop in Canton ;>D

  • 4.
  • At 08:32 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • noel adams wrote:

Just spotted on BBc N Ireland the 160K was voted through in 3Mins 12 seconds yesterday so quickly the minister due to answer questions next had to rush to the front bench.

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