Page last updated at 18:35 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 19:35 UK

Leak ends Welsh assembly meeting

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A water leak forced committee chair Jeff Cuthbert to end a meeting

A meeting of a Welsh assembly committee has been abandoned after water leaked through the roof of the building.

AMs were taking evidence from teaching unions on education plans for 14-19-year-olds before giving up.

"Very, very embarrassed" chairman Jeff Cuthbert called it a "leak in the Welsh assembly of the wrong sort".

The 67m Senedd building in Cardiff Bay underwent repairs within days of its opening by the Queen in March 2006 because of leaks during heavy rain.

Mr Cuthbert initially interrupted the meeting to explain why an official was placing a mat behind his chair.

The Caerphilly AM apologised, describing the situation as "very very embarrassing", "a little ridiculous" and just "not acceptable".

The committee persevered for a few minutes but eventually had to give up.

Jeff Cuthbert
Jeff Cuthbert explains why an official is placing a mat behind him

"It's actually making more noise in my ear than anything else," said Mr Cuthbert.

Liberal Democrat AM Kirsty Williams complained that the dripping water was becoming worse and "getting really distracting".

A spokesman for the Assembly Commission, which is responsible for the building, said: "A leak disrupted a committee meeting today in the Senedd, the first time a structural problem has disrupted assembly business.

"The building contractors, Taylor Woodrow are already rectifying the fault, under the terms of the agreement which stipulates that structural defects such as leaks must be immediately and fully remedied under.

"Alternative accommodation arrangements have been made while the necessary remedial work is carried out."

The Richard Rogers designed building has won awards for its architectural and green credentials.

The leaks two years ago were at various points in the building, the public gallery and access corridors.


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