5. 90-second Statements

– in the Senedd at 3:46 pm on 8 May 2024.

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Photo of Elin Jones Elin Jones Plaid Cymru 3:46, 8 May 2024


Item 5, therefore, is the 90-second statements. And the first statement is from Julie Morgan

Photo of Julie Morgan Julie Morgan Labour

'This, this is the voice from silent hands. / This, this is the voice not heard but seen.'

These are the words of Dorothy Miles in her poem 'The Gesture'. Dorothy Miles was a remarkable woman, who helped to advance and popularise British Sign Language with her poetry and theatrical flair. And two weeks ago, Dorothy was recognised with a purple plaque, which was unveiled at her childhood home in Rhyl. Dorothy was born in 1931, and lost her hearing after developing meningitis at the age of eight. She attended the Manchester school for deaf children and Gallaudet University, the leading American university for deaf and hard of hearing people. Dorothy went on to have a career in the arts, performing with the US National Theatre of the Deaf. After 20 years in America, Dorothy returned to the UK, where she began making her legacy here.

She was the first woman to write and perform deaf poetry, known as 'sign poetry' or 'poetry in motion'. Dorothy produced the BBC's See Hear programme, unifying both the deaf and hearing communities through one television programme. Dorothy compiled the first teaching manual for BSL tutors, and is also the author of the best-selling BBC book BSL: A Beginner’s Guide.

Dorothy died in 1993, and has an organisation named after her called Dot Sign Language, bridging the gap between the deaf and the hearing world. Dorothy was a truly inspirational woman, whose legacy will live on in the history books of Wales. Diolch. 

Photo of Lee Waters Lee Waters Labour 3:48, 8 May 2024

David Marquand, who passed away a fortnight ago, was one of Britain's leading political thinkers. His writings through the 1980s and 1990s were seminal and much admired. A Labour MP, one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party, a Liberal Democrat and, latterly, a member of Plaid Cymru, he did once quip that he'd been in more parties than the Prince of Wales. His father, Hilary, was a Labour MP for Cardiff, who succeeded Nye Bevan as Minister for Health, and David's formative years were spent in the city, and he chose to spend his final ones in Penarth. He was a strong supporter of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, and both he and his equally brilliant wife, Judith, became honorary professors at Cardiff University well into their 80s.

He was in politics during a tumultuous period of social and economic change, and he stood firmly in the centre ground, and took principled stands on issues. He was one of the 69 Labour MPs who rebelled against the party whip in the vote to join the common market. He was a key supporter of the Charter 88 campaign, which paved the way for constitutional reform, including devolution to Wales and proportional representation.

He moved parties, but he said he had inner consistency, a commitment to pluralist, progressive politics, which he saw as the common good. But mostly, he was a kind and decent man, who made a mark on thinking on Europe, on Britain and on Wales. Diolch, David.


The Deputy Presiding Officer (David Rees) took the Chair.

Photo of Heledd Fychan Heledd Fychan Plaid Cymru 3:50, 8 May 2024


The Welsh language is flourishing in Treorchy. That was the clear message at the Gŵyl Mabon festival held at the Lion in Treorchy last weekend. Gŵyl Mabon is a brand-new Welsh language festival, and a fun-packed day was held at the Lion from 10 a.m. until 11.30 p.m., with something for everyone.

Martyn Geraint was as popular as ever with people of all ages, but especially the children. There were arts and crafts sessions, circus skills, animation sessions, along with a series of talks and performances from school choirs, the Rhondda Valley choir, and an array of local and national performers and bands, including Mererid Hopwood, Dadleoli, Ble?, Bethany Powell, Hywel Pitts, Gwilym Bowen Rhys and Tara Bandito. I was lucky enough to be there when Catrin Feelings, one of Wales's most popular drag performers, was performing, and it was great fun.

The place was alive with conversation and laughter all day long, and all in Welsh, but with a welcoming atmosphere for non-Welsh speakers as well. I would like to congratulate everyone who took part in organising the event, and in particular Adrian at the Lion and the staff for their warm welcome and their hard work. The hope is that this will be an annual festival that will go from strength to strength. This is bringing the Welsh language alive in our communities, something that is key in terms of increasing the natural use of the Welsh language. I'm already looking forward to the next one.