8

The results of the recent UK elections have confirmed the continuation of a Labour government in the Senedd, winning 30 out of 60 seats.

This is one seat short of a majority, so what happens in the event of a tie when trying to pass a bill? Are there existing protocols to deal with this?

9

Tyler Mc's answer is not completely correct - while the Llywydd of the Senedd would indeed have the casting vote, they are not completely free to choose how to cast it. Standing Order 6.20 states:

Subject to Standing Order 6.21 (which relates to the Llywydd's right to vote in plenary proceedings requiring a supermajority), the Presiding Officer or Deputy may vote in plenary proceedings only when exercising a casting vote. Where there is an equality of votes a casting vote must be given:

  1. in the affirmative where further discussion of the matter before the Senedd is possible; and
  2. in the negative where further discussion is not possible or where there is a vote on an amendment.

This is similar to Speaker Denison's rule, a convention employed by the Speaker of the House of Commons, described further in Erskine May here:

The occasions on which a Speaker is required to give a casting vote are rare, and in seeking to deduce principles upon which a vote is given, the precedents of the last three centuries are relevant. Although the decisions of successive Speakers have not invariably been consistent, three principles have emerged:

  1. that the Speaker should always vote for further discussion, where this is possible, eg Mr Speaker Addington's decision of 1796;
  2. that, where no further discussion is possible, decisions should not be taken except by a majority, eg Mr Speaker Denison's decisions of 1861 and 1867;
  3. and that a casting vote on an amendment to a bill should leave the bill in its existing form.

If the tied vote takes place during the nomination process for the First Minister, further roll-call votes must take place until one candidate receives an absolute majority of votes (Standing Order 8.2). Neither the Llywydd, nor the Dirprwy Lywydd may vote in the nomination.

This process occurred in 2016 - a 29-29 tie between then leader of the Welsh Labour Party, Carwyn Jones, and then leader of the Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood, who was supported by Assembly Members from other parties. Eventually, a political solution was found, and Wood withdrew from the competition.

A similar process takes place in the case of tied votes which occur during the nomination of the Llywydd and Dirprwy Llywydd, and the nomination of committee chairs (Standing Order 17.2J), except that further secret ballots take place rather than roll-call votes.

3

According to this recent handbook on the Welsh assembly:

where voting is tied, the Llywydd will exercise her casting vote. In this case she will cast her vote in the negative (in accordance with Standing Order 6.20(ii)). This means the motion is not agreed and the Bill will be rejected. -Welsh Government Legislation Handbook on Assembly Bills, August 2017

So if there is a tie, the Llywydd of the Senedd would cast a vote and if that vote is negative (which, in accordance to Standing Order 6.20 will be negative if the vote is on an amendment or further discussion on the vote is impossible), the Bill is rejected.

2
  • I've just checked this on Wikipedia (I know, not the best source) and it says "Neither the Llywydd or the Dirprwy Lywydd are allowed to participate in Senedd votes," which seems to contradict your answer? May 10 at 20:15
  • 4
    The Lywydd only votes to break a tie, and then always to maintain the status quo. This is the same as in the Westminster system. The speaker and deputy speakers don't vote except to break a tie and always to maintain the status quo. So the answer and Wikipedia are both correct. The Lywydd doesn't participate in votes.
    – James K
    May 10 at 20:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .