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Dafydd Wigley presents Westminster Bill to protect Senedd from UK Government power-grabs

28 Oct 2022 3 minute read
Dafydd Wigley. Picture by Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru Member of the House of Lords, Dafydd Wigley, will today introduce a Bill which he says would put new legal safeguards in place for devolved powers.

The former leader of Plaid Cymru Dafydd Wigley is sponsoring the Government of Wales (Devolved Powers) Bill, in a bid to provide “stability and transparency” to Welsh devolution.

A Bill can start in the Commons or the Lords and must be approved in the same form by both Houses before becoming an Act (law).

Dafydd Wigley’s Bill, which he said has cross-party support, would prevent any change or reduction in the Senedd’s powers without the support of a ‘super-majority’ of two-thirds of Senedd members.

Ahead of the debate in the House of Lords, Dafydd Wigley said: “In this my twelfth and perhaps last full year, in this Chamber, I feel it to be a timely duty to introduce this Bill which, if passed, would be widely welcomed in Wales’ Senedd, across party lines; and which would lead to more harmonious working between the Senedd and the UK government.

“Its purpose is to rebalance the relationship between Westminster and Wales’ Senedd by formalising a process which should be respected if, for any reason, there is a need to curtail or modify the devolved powers within which the Senedd operates.

“The aim of the Bill is to provide a greater stability than has existed over the past few years, particularly since the Brexit vote, which has led to the legislative powers of Wales Senedd being undermined by actions of the UK government.

“This has on several occasions been against the wishes of the Welsh Government; and at times, in what has appeared to be in conflict with the legislative framework within which the Senedd conducts its business.”

‘Minority’

Dafydd Wigley said that he spoke “on behalf of Plaid Cymru” but also said that his objectives were shared by the Welsh Government and Labour and Liberal Democrat Senedd members.

“And I believe, even has some private sympathy amongst some Conservatives – since it is in everyone’s interest to have both stability and clarity with regard to the Senedd’s powers; and for there to be a recognized procedure if there is a wish to amend those powers,” he said.

“Devolution in Wales has been an evolving picture, since the referendum of twenty-five years ago last month. It has seen Wales gain greater self-confidence and a greater willingness to take responsibility onto our own shoulders for the government of our country, within the devolutionary framework agreed by parliament and ratified by two referenda.

“The 1997 Referendum was carried by a whisker – just six thousand votes in a two million electorate, which reflected a cynicism amongst voters that the proposed model of devolution provided a glorified county council, not a legislative parliament, as Scotland was being offered.

“When the powers and responsibilities of that Parliament were augmented, following the Government of Wales Act 2006, they were confirmed by the 2010 referendum, with a thumping two-to-one majority supporting primary law-making powers.

“That minority who still oppose the Senedd’s existence put forward candidates in the last election in 2021; and were trounced. Devolution is here to stay; and therefore, it is incumbent on us – both in Westminster and in Cardiff Bay, to make it work; and to do that requires a stability and a transparency of its powers.”


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Rhian Davies
Rhian Davies
1 month ago

Yes, but what does ‘transparency’ actually mean, in context? Does it mean people should declare their business interests? Or does it mean the public should be told what’s being discussed behind their backs in political party meetings? Or something else?

I notice politicians use buzz-words like ‘transparency’ often, but it’s not always clear to the public what the meaning, in context is?

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
1 month ago

This is exactly the bill we need to ensure the existing level of the Senedd ‘s power is a baseline to work with, which exactly why the Tories will refuse to allow it to be passed. We need a UK General election now because, Westminster isn’t working!

WilliamsG
WilliamsG
1 month ago

If you need a two thirds majority to increase the Senedd’s powers nothing will ever change. The anti-everything party (Tories) will continually block it

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  WilliamsG

The Senedd needs to have the exact same powers as the Scottish parliament. When will Cymru wake up and accept that the only way that peoples lives can be improved is with a government in Cardiff that has the power to govern .
There also needs to be an English parliament of equal powers. Four equal parliaments in each country of the UK

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 month ago
Reply to  WilliamsG

If Plaid and Llafur work together (they usually do) you have that 2/3 supermajority already

The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago

Does this replace the bill that carwyn jones tore up and handed all powers back to Westminster?

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

When Dafydd Wigley speaks of ‘private sympathy among some Conservatives’, it speaks volumes of the kind of tyrannical monster we are up against. I applaud him for taking this action. This bill, if passed, coupled with removal of the Tories at the next election will go a long way to ensuring we will never be intimidated in this way ever again.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

This seems to me to be utterly pointless. Mere window-dressing.

We all know that Westminster can repeal, disapply or override any Act of Parliament – even one purporting to establish constitutional restriction (like the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act) – simply by passing a subsequent Act.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

Hopefully there is a section within the Bill that will stop Westminster bypassing the Act whenever it feels like, which it will if it feels it can get away with it.

Ursula Waldinger
Ursula Waldinger
1 month ago

I live in Brittany and we here have no political Power like you in Wales have. But one thing I would like to say that I take the E-Bike and the Lord Maire goes on foot. And the farmers ride an Ox or an Ourhan.. Urox. Frankreich Urlaub im Urwald

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