Campaigners criticise Tories after vow to not expand the Senedd
Campaigners have hit back after the Tories vowed not to expand the Senedd.
The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) have said “we need Senedd fit for the fight” after Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Conservatives in the Senedd, said his party won’t increase the size of the parliament and doesn’t want it to have more powers.
Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru added that parties should not “fall back on populist punchlines for short term electoral gain”.
Plaid Cymru has suggested that the pledge from the Conservative Party is “yet another example” of its “devo-scepticism”.
A spokesperson for the party said the Tories are “not content with cutting the number of Welsh MPs and clawing back our powers”.
Jess Blair, Director, ERS Cymru said: “It’s been over two decades since the Senedd was created and in that time its responsibilities have grown but its numbers have not.
“It now has more powers and a greater role in the everyday lives of people across Wales than ever before.
“The past twelve months have shown clearly the importance of strong representation in Wales – and the reality that critical decisions about healthcare, the economy and education are being made in Cardiff and not in Westminster.
“A stronger Senedd is not a distraction from getting Wales on the road to recovery, it’s the foundations that recovery can be built on.
“If we are to meet the challenges we face in the years ahead, we need a Senedd fit for the fight and politicians from all parties to step up to the plate to deliver it and not instead fall back on populist punchlines for short term electoral gain.”
In 2017 the Expert Panel on Assembly Reform, chaired by Professor Laura McAllister, proposed increasing the size of the Senedd to around 90 members.
‘Silence the voice’
Responding to the pledge from the Tories that they will not increase the number of Senedd members, a Plaid Cymru spokesperson said: “This is yet another example of the devo-scepticism of the new Tory leader whose party – not content with cutting the number of Welsh MPs and clawing back our powers – now wants to silence the voice of the people of Wales.
“Only Plaid Cymru will deliver the democratic representation Wales deserves – and needs. That means urgently demanding more powers to a larger Senedd, implementing a fairer voting system in the form of STV and a referendum which allows us put Wales’s future in Wales’s hands.”
Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies said: “What Wales needs now is more nurses, doctors and teachers – not more politicians.
“The priority for any party should be getting Wales on the road to recovery with a stronger economy and rebuilding our public services, not increasing the size of the Senedd.
“The Welsh Conservatives have one focus: fixing Wales’ broken economy so that we can create more jobs and help fund our vital public services.
“We would use that money to fund more nurses so that we can bring down the waiting times in our NHS, and recruit more teachers so we can improve our education system and give children across Wales the best start in life.
“Labour and Plaid should be up front and honest in their respective manifestos about their intentions as the Welsh Conservatives have been clear that there’ll be no more powers, no more politicians, no more taxes, and no more constitutional chaos.
“Just a sole focus on building a better Wales and delivering a stronger economy.”