Bigger Welsh Parliament will ensure government can’t ‘get away with things’ says Senedd reform chair
A bigger Welsh Parliament is needed so that the government can’t “get away with things”, the chair of a new committee on Senedd reform has said.
Huw Irranca-Davies said that he hoped that the Welsh Government could bring forward legislation to change the Senedd’s size and voting system in May.
Up for discussion was the size of the Senedd, with broad support for more members, and also a switch to an STV voting system, he said.
Writing in the Western Mail he said that the current Welsh Parliament was “significantly underpowered” and that he was not “arguing for more members for the sake of it”.
“In other words, do we allow government to get away with things because we can’t scrutinise them?” he asked.
He also said that the committee would be looking at Single Transferable Vote, a system where voters list candidates in order of preference, to take the place of the current two vote constituency and regional system.
“People will know the widespread dissatisfaction generally with the system we have called the multi-member system where we have members based on a region and we also have members on first pass the post basis and constituencies,” he said.
“Laura McAllister’s expert panel and Dawn Bowden’s committee in the last Senedd, both came to the conclusion that the preferred model would be something based around the STV single transferable vote, because that has the benefit of becoming more proportional so every vote counts but also retains the link with a constituency.
“It might be a different size constituency, a different shape of constituency.”
He added that it was important that any reform to the voting system and boundaries ensure that there was greater diversity within the Senedd.
“Diversity goes hand in hand with the increase in numbers, the electoral reform, and the different sizes and shapes of seats,” he said.