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