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Betsan Powys | 08:05 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Helen Mary Jones and Vince Cable - what do the Plaid Cymru deputy leader and the Lib Dem Business Secretary have in common?

Will they both be appearing on Strictly Come Dancing this Christmas?

No. He will, she won't.

Do they both have sisters who are stand-up comedians?

No again. She has, he hasn't.

The answer is they're both senior figures in their respective parties who've felt the need to come out and make it clear that they support and will vote for measures put forward by their own parties.

In Westminster we're told Vince Cable will indeed vote for a rise in tuition fees.

In Cardiff Bay, ahead of today's vote on the Welsh Language measure, Helen Mary Jones has issued a press release saying that she will back the measure as put forward by the Plaid Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones. The measure would impose duties on public bodies and large companies like utility suppliers to provide service through the medium of Welsh. It would also create a Welsh Language Commissioner whose job it will be to protect the rights of Welsh speakers. It also, says Helen Mary Jones, delivers on its intention of giving official status to the Welsh language on a par with English - and achieves that aim without involving judges and messy court cases.

This is how she put it :

"It would be dangerous for there to be a weakness in the measure that would allow the very status of the language to be left in the hands of a judicial interpretation, which on any given day, could be completely indifferent to the needs of Welsh language speakers. The measure, as it has been presented, takes that risk off the table and ensures that this is as far reaching as it could possibly be."

At least one Plaid AM disagrees. Bethan Jenkins has tabled an amendment that makes it clear she sides with language campaigners who've argued consistently that the measure, as it's worded, fails to guarantee official status for the Welsh language.

She is, say those campaigners, brave and principled. Question is will any of her fellow Plaid AMs stand with her and support her amendment? The group held a meeting last night and I'm told by one source at least that "the group will give its support to Alun Ffred as the minister".

There are 71 amendments to consider this afternoon, a sign, says the minister, that he has listened and taken account of the different viewpoints that have emerged over the past few months.

Will this be the end of a long road, the Heritage minister was asked this morning. I hope so he said, with conviction and with the air of a man who is hoping to come for air very soon.


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