A ROW started by Peter Hain about how hard members of the National Assembly work has taken a new turn with a senior Cardiff Bay politician claiming that, on average, AMs work harder than MPs.
Last week the Welsh Secretary referred disparagingly to the Assembly's timetable, with Mondays and Fridays as "constituency days" and the Assembly meeting in plenary session two afternoons a week. He suggested that AMs should work "longer and harder".
Now John Marek, the Assembly's Deputy Presiding Officer, has accused Mr Hain of underestimating the amount of work done by AMs.
Dr Marek said, "What does Peter Hain mean by his remarks? He is trying to fool people. He knows that Mondays and Fridays are taken up with constituency matters - an important part of the job. His comments imply that AMs are staying in bed or going to Borth beach.
"As well as attending plenary sessions, AMs belong to two or three committees where the workload is quite high. At present, unlike in Westminster, the committees are responsible for policy formulation as well as scrutiny. And it was his party, not the opposition, that insisted on holding committee meetings every three weeks rather than every two.
"Having been a member of both the UK Parliament and the Assembly, I can say that on average AMs work harder than MPs. Of course there are members in both places that are more hardworking than others, but on average I believe it's fair to say that Cardiff Bay wins."