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Government of Wales Bill


Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

10

 

Disqualification

16      

Disqualification from being Assembly member

(1)   

A person is disqualified from being an Assembly member if that person—

(a)   

is disqualified from being a member of the House of Commons under

paragraphs (a) to (e) of section 1(1) of the House of Commons

5

Disqualification Act 1975 (c. 24) (judges, civil servants, members of the

armed forces, members of police forces and members of foreign

legislatures),

(b)   

holds any of the offices for the time being designated by Order in

Council as offices disqualifying persons from being Assembly

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members,

(c)   

holds the office of Auditor General,

(d)   

holds the office of Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, or

(e)   

is employed as a member of the staff of the Assembly.

(2)   

Subject to section 17(1) and (2), a person is also disqualified from being an

15

Assembly member if that person is disqualified otherwise than under the

House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (either generally or in relation to

a particular constituency) from being a member of the House of Commons or

from sitting and voting in it.

(3)   

For the purposes of subsection (2) the references to the Republic of Ireland in

20

section 1 of the Representation of the People Act 1981 (c. 34) (disqualification

of offenders detained in, or unlawfully at large from detention in, the British

Islands or the Republic of Ireland) are to be treated as references to any

member State (other than the United Kingdom).

(4)   

A person who holds office as lord-lieutenant, lieutenant or high sheriff of any

25

area in Wales is disqualified from being an Assembly member for any

Assembly constituency or Assembly electoral region wholly or partly included

in that area.

(5)   

An Order in Council under paragraph (b) of subsection (1)—

(a)   

may designate particular offices or offices of any description, and

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(b)   

may designate an office by reference to any characteristic of a person

holding it,

   

and in that paragraph and this subsection “office” includes any post or

employment.

(6)   

No recommendation is to be made to Her Majesty in Council to make an Order

35

in Council under subsection (1)(b) unless a draft of the statutory instrument

containing the Order in Council has been laid before, and approved by a

resolution of, the Assembly.

17      

Exceptions and relief from disqualification

(1)   

A person is not disqualified from being an Assembly member merely because

40

that person is—

(a)   

a peer (whether of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, England or

Scotland), or

(b)   

a Lord Spiritual.

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

11

 

(2)   

A citizen of the European Union who is resident in the United Kingdom is not

disqualified from being an Assembly member merely because of section 3 of

the Act of Settlement (1700 c. 2) (disqualification of certain persons born

outside United Kingdom).

(3)   

The Assembly may resolve that the disqualification of any person who was, or

5

is alleged to have been, disqualified from being an Assembly member on a

ground within section 16(1) or (4) is to be disregarded if it appears to the

Assembly—

(a)   

that the ground has been removed, and

(b)   

that it is proper so to resolve.

10

(4)   

A resolution under subsection (3) does not—

(a)   

affect any proceedings under Part 3 of the Representation of the People

Act 1983 (c. 2) as applied by or incorporated in an order under section

13, or

(b)   

enable the Assembly to disregard any disqualification which has been

15

established in such proceedings or in proceedings under section 19.

18      

Effect of disqualification

(1)   

If a person who is disqualified from being an Assembly member is returned as

an Assembly member, the person’s return is void and the person’s seat is

vacant.

20

(2)   

If a person who is disqualified from being an Assembly member for a

particular Assembly constituency or Assembly electoral region is returned as

an Assembly member for that Assembly constituency or Assembly electoral

region, the person’s return is void and the person’s seat is vacant.

(3)   

If a person who is an Assembly member becomes disqualified—

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(a)   

from being an Assembly member, or

(b)   

from being an Assembly member for the Assembly constituency or

Assembly electoral region for which the person is sitting,

   

the person ceases to be an Assembly member (so that the person’s seat is

vacant).

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(4)   

Subsections (1) to (3) have effect subject to any resolution of the Assembly

under section 17(3).

(5)   

In addition, subsection (3) has effect subject to—

(a)   

section 141 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (c. 20) (mental illness), and

(b)   

section 427 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (c. 45) (bankruptcy etc.).

35

(6)   

If, in consequence of a provision mentioned in subsection (5), the seat of a

person who is disqualified from being an Assembly member is not vacant, the

person does not cease to be an Assembly member until the person’s seat

becomes vacant.

(7)   

But for any period for which the person is disqualified but the person’s seat is

40

not vacant—

(a)   

the person must not participate in any Assembly proceedings, and

(b)   

any of the person’s other rights and privileges as an Assembly member

may be withdrawn by the Assembly.

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

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(8)   

The validity of any Assembly proceedings is not affected by the

disqualification of any person—

(a)   

from being an Assembly member, or

(b)   

from being an Assembly member for the Assembly constituency or

Assembly electoral region for which the person purports to sit.

5

19      

Judicial proceedings as to disqualification

(1)   

Any person who claims that a person purporting to be an Assembly member

is, or at any time since being returned as an Assembly member has been,

disqualified from being—

(a)   

an Assembly member, or

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(b)   

an Assembly member for the Assembly constituency or Assembly

electoral region for which the person purports to sit,

   

may apply to the High Court for a declaration to that effect.

(2)   

An application under subsection (1) in respect of any person may be made

whether the grounds on which it is made are alleged to have subsisted at the

15

time when the person was returned or to have arisen subsequently.

(3)   

No declaration may be made under this section in respect of any person—

(a)   

on grounds which subsisted when the person was returned, if an

election petition is pending or has been tried in which the person’s

disqualification on those grounds is or was in issue, or

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(b)   

on any ground, if a resolution of the Assembly under section 17(3)

requires that any disqualification incurred by the person on that

ground is to be disregarded.

(4)   

On an application under this section—

(a)   

the person in respect of whom the application is made is to be the

25

respondent, and

(b)   

the applicant must give such security for the costs of the proceedings as

the court may direct.

(5)   

The amount of the security may not exceed £5,000 or such other sum as the

Welsh Ministers may specify by order.

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(6)   

The decision of the court on an application under this section is final.

(7)   

A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (5) is subject to

annulment in pursuance of a resolution of the Assembly.

Remuneration, oaths etc.

20      

Remuneration of Assembly members

35

(1)   

The Assembly must make provision for the payment of salaries to Assembly

members.

(2)   

The Assembly may make provision for the payment of allowances to Assembly

members.

(3)   

The Assembly may make provision for the payment of pensions, gratuities or

40

allowances to, or in respect of, any person who—

(a)   

has ceased to be an Assembly member, or

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

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(b)   

has ceased to hold office as the Presiding Officer or Deputy Presiding

Officer, or such other office in connection with the Assembly as the

Assembly may determine, but continues to be an Assembly member.

(4)   

Such provision may, in particular, include provision for—

(a)   

contributions or payments towards provision for such pensions,

5

gratuities or allowances, and

(b)   

the establishment and administration (whether by the Assembly

Commission or otherwise) of one or more pension schemes.

(5)   

Sums required for the making of payments by virtue of provision under

subsection (1) or (3) to or in respect of a person who holds or has held the office

10

of Presiding Officer or Deputy Presiding Officer are to be charged on the Welsh

Consolidated Fund.

(6)   

Provision under this section may be made by—

(a)   

the standing orders, or

(b)   

resolutions of the Assembly,

15

   

and may include provision conferring functions on the Assembly Commission.

21      

Limit on salaries of Assembly members

(1)   

The Assembly must make provision to ensure that the amount of the salary

payable to an Assembly member in accordance with section 20 is reduced if a

salary is payable to the Assembly member—

20

(a)   

pursuant to a resolution (or combination of resolutions) of either House

of Parliament relating to the remuneration of members of that House,

or

(b)   

under section 1 of the European Parliament (Pay and Pensions) Act

1979 (c. 50) (remuneration of United Kingdom MEPs).

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(2)   

The provision made must ensure that the amount of salary is reduced—

(a)   

to a particular proportion of what it otherwise would be or to a

particular amount, or

(b)   

by the amount of any salary payable to the Assembly member as

mentioned in subsection (1)(a) or (b), by a particular proportion of that

30

amount or by some other particular amount.

(3)   

Provision may be made under this section by—

(a)   

the standing orders, or

(b)   

resolutions of the Assembly,

   

and may include provision conferring functions on the Assembly Commission.

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22      

Remuneration: supplementary

(1)   

Different provision may be made under section 20 or 21 for different cases.

(2)   

The Assembly must ensure that information concerning—

(a)   

the amounts paid to each Assembly member as salary and allowances,

and

40

(b)   

the total amount paid to Assembly members as salaries and allowances,

   

is published for each financial year (and may, in particular, do so by requiring

it to be published by the Assembly Commission).

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

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(3)   

If the Assembly has exercised the power under section 20 to confer on the

Assembly Commission the function of determining any salaries, allowances,

pensions or gratuities of the kind mentioned in that section, the Assembly

Commission must publish every such determination as soon as is reasonably

practicable after it is made.

5

(4)   

For the purposes of sections 20 and 21 a person who—

(a)   

ceases to be an Assembly member when the Assembly is dissolved, but

(b)   

is nominated as a candidate at the subsequent general election,

   

is to be treated as an Assembly member until the end of the day on which the

poll at the election is held.

10

(5)   

Where a person—

(a)   

ceases to be an Assembly member when the Assembly is dissolved, but

(b)   

continues to hold office as Presiding Officer or as a member of the

Assembly Commission by virtue of paragraph 1(1) or (2) of Schedule 2,

   

the fact that the person is no longer an Assembly member does not affect any

15

entitlement under sections 20 and 21 in respect of the holding of office as

Presiding Officer or as a member of the Assembly Commission (or both) until

the end of the day on which the person ceases to hold it.

(6)   

Provision made under section 20(3) does not affect pensions or allowances in

payment before the provision was made.

20

23      

Oath or affirmation of allegiance

(1)   

An Assembly member must take the oath of allegiance in the form set out in

section 2 of the Promissory Oaths Act 1868 (c. 72) (or make the corresponding

affirmation) as soon as is reasonably practicable after being returned as an

Assembly member (whether for the first time or subsequently).

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(2)   

The standing orders must specify the person before whom the oath is to be

taken (or the affirmation made).

(3)   

Subsection (1) does not require an Assembly member to take the oath of

allegiance (or make the corresponding affirmation) again if it has been taken

(or made) by the Assembly member in compliance with section 55(2) since

30

being returned (or last returned).

(4)   

Until an Assembly member has taken the oath (or made the affirmation) the

Assembly member must not do anything as an Assembly member, other

than—

(a)   

take part in proceedings of the Assembly at which Assembly members

35

take the oath or make the affirmation, or

(b)   

take part in any earlier proceedings for the election of the Presiding

Officer or Deputy Presiding Officer.

(5)   

If an Assembly member has not taken the oath (or made the affirmation)

within—

40

(a)   

the period of two months beginning with the day on which the

Assembly member was declared to be returned, or

(b)   

such longer period as the Assembly may have allowed before the end

of that period of two months,

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

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at the end of that period of two months or longer period the Assembly member

ceases to be an Assembly member (so that the Assembly member’s seat is

vacant).

(6)   

Until an Assembly member has taken the oath (or made the affirmation), no

salary, allowance, gratuity or payment towards the provision of a pension,

5

allowance or gratuity is to be paid under this Act to or in respect of the

Assembly member.

(7)   

But subsection (6) does not affect any entitlement to payments in respect of the

period before the Assembly member took the oath (or made the affirmation)

once the Assembly member has done so.

10

24      

Assistance to groups of Assembly members

(1)   

The Assembly Commission must make to (or in respect of) political groups to

which Assembly members belong such payments as the Assembly from time

to time determines for the purpose of assisting Assembly members who belong

to those political groups to perform their functions as Assembly members.

15

(2)   

A determination under subsection (1) may make provision—

(a)   

for calculating the amount of any payment to (or in respect of) a

political group,

(b)   

for the conditions subject to which payments to (or in respect of) a

political group are to be made, and

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(c)   

for claims for such payments to be made to the Assembly Commission.

(3)   

A determination under subsection (1) may make different provision for

different political groups.

(4)   

If a motion making a determination under subsection (1) is passed on a vote it

has no effect unless at least two-thirds of the Assembly members voting

25

support it.

(5)   

The standing orders must include provision for determining for the purposes

of this Act whether any Assembly member belongs to a political group and, if

so, to which; and (in particular)—

(a)   

may include provision for treating an Assembly member as not

30

belonging to a political group unless a specified number of Assembly

members belong to it, and

(b)   

must include provision requiring the Presiding Officer to decide any

questions arising under the provision included by virtue of this

subsection.

35

(6)   

The standing orders must include provision—

(a)   

for the publication of every determination under this section, and

(b)   

for the publication for each financial year of information about the

sums paid under this section in the financial year.

Presiding Officer and administration

40

25      

Presiding Officer etc.

(1)   

The Assembly must, at its first meeting following a general election, elect from

among the Assembly members—

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

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(a)   

a presiding officer (referred to in this Act as “the Presiding Officer”),

and

(b)   

a deputy presiding officer (referred to in this Act as “the Deputy

Presiding Officer”).

(2)   

The person elected under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) is to be known as the

5

Presiding Officer or by such other title as the standing orders may provide; and

the person elected under paragraph (b) of that subsection is to be known as the

Deputy Presiding Officer or by such other title as the standing orders may

provide.

(3)   

The Presiding Officer holds office until the conclusion of the next election of a

10

Presiding Officer under subsection (1).

(4)   

The Deputy Presiding Officer holds office until the Assembly is dissolved.

(5)   

But the Presiding Officer or Deputy Presiding Officer—

(a)   

may at any time resign,

(b)   

ceases to hold office on ceasing to be an Assembly member otherwise

15

than by reason of a dissolution, and

(c)   

may be removed from office by the Assembly.

(6)   

If the Presiding Officer or the Deputy Presiding Officer ceases to hold office

under subsection (5) (or dies), the Assembly must elect a replacement from

among the Assembly members.

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(7)   

Subject to subsection (9), the Presiding Officer and the Deputy Presiding

Officer must not belong to—

(a)   

the same political group, or

(b)   

different political groups both of which are political groups with an

executive role.

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(8)   

For the purposes of this Act a political group is a political group with an

executive role if the First Minister or one or more of the Welsh Ministers

appointed under section 48 belong to it.

(9)   

The Assembly may resolve that subsection (7) is not to apply for so long as the

resolution so provides; but if the motion for the resolution is passed on a vote

30

it is of no effect unless at least two-thirds of the Assembly members voting

support it.

(10)   

The Presiding Officer’s functions may be exercised by the Deputy Presiding

Officer if—

(a)   

the office of Presiding Officer is vacant, or

35

(b)   

the Presiding Officer is for any reason unable to act.

(11)   

The Presiding Officer may (subject to the standing orders) authorise the

Deputy Presiding Officer to exercise functions of the Presiding Officer.

(12)   

The standing orders may include provision for the Presiding Officer’s

functions to be exercisable by any person specified in, or determined in

40

accordance with, the standing orders if—

(a)   

the office of Presiding Officer is vacant or the Presiding Officer is for

any reason unable to act, and

(b)   

the office of Deputy Presiding Officer is vacant or the Deputy Presiding

Officer is for any reason unable to act.

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