All future Senedd candidates must live in Wales under new plans
New Welsh Government plans have revealed all future Senedd election candidates must live in Wales.
Senedd members will also be stopped from leaving a political party to join another in proposed plans as part of a reform package which would increase MS’s from 60 to 96.
The Welsh Government has said it will give an update on the plans by Easter and Plaid Cymru described the proposed changes as “a significant milestone in Wales’s constitutional journey”
Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew RT Davies said the Welsh Government should instead focus on “fixing our Welsh NHS, our education system and our economy”.
The Welsh Government hopes to introduce the new plans by 2026 which would see 96 Ministers split across 16 constituencies, with each electing six.
Rules that would require a certain percentage of female candidates are also being considered to ensure a fairer and more even representation.
However, there is uncertainty around whether the Senedd holds the legal power that would enable them to implement such a change.
Welsh ministers and Plaid Cymru are currently working on finalising the plans which will be published by autumn 2023.
It’s hoped that ensuring election candidates live in Wales would prevent the situation in the last Senedd where UKIP leader Neil Hamilton who lived in Wiltshire was able to represent mid and west Wales
In 2009, Mohammad Asghar became the first MS to ‘cross the floor’ in the Senedd when he moved over to the Conservative party from Plaid Cymru.
In 2016 Senedd election, six of the seven politicians elected to represent UKIP left to join other parties.
Andrew RT Davies said: “Labour has no electoral mandate for their proposals and are happy for MPs to cross the floor to another party when it suits them.”
“It is up to the electorate to determine how they are represented.”
The BBC has reported that Labour’s Welsh Executive Committee queried whether the Welsh residency rule change “might put off talented potential candidates living elsewhere in the UK who would be reluctant to risk moving to Wales if they could not be sure of being elected”.
A Welsh government spokeswoman said: “We continue to work to progress the recommendations made by the special purpose committee on Senedd reform, and will provide a further update by Easter.”
A Plaid spokeswoman added: “Almost 25 years since the Senedd was established, the proposed legislation will be a significant milestone in Wales’ constitutional journey.
“The leader of Plaid Cymru is working closely with the first minister on the development of the legislation, and we look forward to seeing the legislation introduced to the Senedd in due course.”
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