Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Closed list vote had ‘all the hallmarks of a backroom deal’ – Jane Dodds

07 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Jane Dodds MS – Image: Senedd Cymru

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have described the vote to keep the new closed lists system for Senedd elections as having “all the hallmarks of a backroom deal”.

Critics of the new voting system say that it takes power away from the voter and places it in the hands of political party bosses as voters will have no way to vote for their preferred candidate but will only be able to express a party preference.

Opposition MSs proposed moving to a flexible-list system, which would enable voters to express preferences for candidates within those lists if they would prefer to do so.

But the Conservative proposal, backed by the Liberal Democrats, was defeated 40-16 during a heated debate on amendments to the Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) bill on Tuesday.

Stitch up

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said: “This proposal to switch towards a Closed-list system has all the hallmarks of a backroom deal, a stitch up decided behind closed doors.

“We have heard time after time that Closed-list systems put power in the hands of the party, and not the people.

So why do Welsh Labour and their Plaid Cymru counterparts insist on pushing through a voting system that has been torn down by numerous experts?

“The irony hasn’t been lost on me that the so-called “progressive parties” have decided to back a conservative system that holds us backwards instead of pushing us forward. With this Bill, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to revolutionise Welsh democracy.

“But choosing to go down this path, we have turned ourselves into outliers. Disconnected from democratic norms such as voter empowerment and candidate accountability glaringly missing.”

Pet project

Darren Millar MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for the Constitution said: “The Senedd Reform Bill pet project from Labour and Plaid Cymru is a colossal waste of £120 million of taxpayers’ money.

“While a number of Welsh Conservative amendments have been agreed to the Bill, the Senedd did support an important amendment to try and restrict the increase in Welsh ministers, my amendments to allow Welsh voters to recall politicians that fail to meet the public’s high standards, and to change the voting system to allow voters to vote for individual politicians of their choice were rejected by the Labour and Plaid.

“The people of Wales deserve to have their say in a referendum, in which I am confident they would reject this pet project outright. Ultimately what Wales really needs are more doctors, nurses, dentists and teachers – not more politicians.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
22 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

Cosy Plaid-Labour relationship so reminiscent of Clegg-Tory deal of 2010. Lacks the formality but much the same intent and it did satisfy someone’s craving for some sort of power. Shallow with dangerous consequences.

Rob jones
Rob jones
1 month ago

That’s what happens in a dictatorship they don’t listen to the electorate

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob jones

Dictatorship? How so? We have free and fair elections once every five years (soon to be reduced to four years) and representation in our Senedd is based on a version of proportional representation (admittedly flawed but far better than the god-awful first-past-the-post system used by Westminster).

So kindly explain how this is a ‘dictatorship’. Or maybe it’s just because it has lead to an outcome that you don’t like, in which case you are opposed to democratic process.

Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndŵr
1 month ago

Sticking with closed lists instead of flexible, open, ones is going to do irreparable harm to Welsh democracy. This is massive own goal by Labour and Plaid Cymru. Let me be clear it’s the the thinking that underpinnes this kind which is the exact reason I don’t like Labour and don’t vote for them. Labour are arrogant, they think they know best. It that sense they are no different to the Tories. Two cheeks of the backside and Plaid Cymru tied themselves to this nonsense. I hope Plaid look forward to the day when the excrement hits them too. Good… Read more »

CapM
CapM
1 month ago
Reply to  Owain Glyndŵr

If the proposal for a flexible-list system had been passed at least fifteen out of those sixteen would not have voted for the amended final proposal. Have a guess what party those fifteen belong to.. “irreparable harm” , nonsense a Single Transferable Vote system was ruled out by Labour but in the future if they change their mind or if they lose out to other parties (which is more possible with the new system) STV can still be implemented. On the Venn diagram of criticism of this issue there’s almost a complete overlap between those who insist we must have… Read more »

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago
Reply to  CapM

Totally disagree. The assertion here is pure conjecture and quite disparaging.

Owain Glyndŵr
Owain Glyndŵr
1 month ago
Reply to  CapM

First of all don’t imply I’m a Tory. I would rather play Russian Roulette than vote Tory. I just don’t blindly follow the Labour Party, who are just as arrogant as the Tories. Second, any form of PR is an improvement on the FPTP or in this case the Additional Member System. However, closed lists centralise party control of which candidates can be voted for, removing that right from voters. The Netherlands use open lists in many of their elections which allow voters to not only vote for their party of choice, but also which candidate or candidates they prefer.… Read more »

CapM
CapM
1 month ago
Reply to  Owain Glyndŵr

I didn’t imply you were a Tory. The concern about the fairness of the new system expressed by some Welsh Nationalists and the faux concern expressed by British nationalists is resulting in very similar resistance coming from both groups. Which group’s vision for Cymru do you think gets the greater benefit from this duet. Any electoral system ultimately depends on how much effort the electorate is willing to put into becoming aware and involved. Even a Single Transferable Vote system doesn’t guarantee voters will make informed, responsible or strategic choices. And STV certainly doesn’t guarantee voters will vote in a… Read more »

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago

Most people vote for the party & wouldnt even be able to the individual.
Not a big deal.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Downvote all you like. It’s true.

Jon_S
Jon_S
1 month ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

Until a party you support decides to field a candidate you find particularly abhorrent?

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon_S

Then like FPTP you have to vote for a different party.

You will be no worse off.

Beau Brummie
Beau Brummie
1 month ago

Vote 👍 for STV
Vote 👎 for Closed List

Simples 🙂

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago

Millar is dogwhistling away (why is his party cutting taxes when public services are on their backsides?) but he and his party have been presented with an open goal here. Labour are dragging the Senedd’s good name into the gutter. Refusing a Welsh enquiry into Covid, stitching up their leadership contest, dissmissing the concerns of hundreds of thousands of motorists and now imposing a backwards electoral system on the electorate. We can argue for an expanded Senedd but this electoral method is deeply unpopular. I’m very upset that Plaid did not call Labour’s bluff. We’ve made ourselves party to their… Read more »

Glen
Glen
1 month ago

Just 46% of those eligible could be bothered to vote at the last Senedd elections.
I’ll confidently predict that the next election will see far fewer than that under the new system.

Richard E
Richard E
1 month ago

This will not serve Wales well and Plaid do this without any members manate …. What would Gwynfor and the founders be thinking ?

Gwynfor spent his entire life fighting to give our people a voice and against the party backroom fixers.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago

Closed lists are a slap in the face for democracy, a slap in the face for voters.

Voters have the right to know who we are voting for.

This is a bad decision and a dark day for democracy in Wales.

CapM
CapM
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

If it’s dark in Cymru it’s none more black* across the border.
With apologies to Nigel Tufnel

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Closed lists are used in every election that is currently held in Wales.

FPTP You have a closed list of one candidate. If you don’t want that person as MP or MS you have to vote for a different party.
REGIONAL MS you have a closed list of candidates where you pick the party.

The new system will be the same.

Why vote
Why vote
1 month ago

Next welsh election will be really interesting.

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
1 month ago

Do you think that Welsh news media is sufficiently developed to allow open list PR to function? It would require far more coverage than we have currently. I don’t see how it would work. Senedd elections are barely covered by the news media. How could open lists function without a media that is willing to talk about every candidate from every party for every constituency. The merits of why you should vote for, not just this party, but this particular candidate of this party. Wales seems decades away from having the media ecosystem where that would work. Given Wales’ record… Read more »

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.