Dafydd Wigley Westminster Bill to protect Senedd from UK power-grabs backed by Lib-Dems
The Liberal Democrats have pledged their support to a Bill in the UK Parliament designed to protect the powers of the Senedd.
The Government of Wales (Devolved Powers) Bill [HL], has been proposed by Plaid Cymru Lord and former leader Dafydd Wigley.
The Bill, which just passed its second reading in the House of Lords is expected to go to the House of Commons if it passes its third reading.
The Bill would mean powers devolved to Senedd Cymru must not be amended or withdrawn without a super-majority vote of its elected members.
Speaking at the second reading of the Bill, Baroness Christine Humphreys, the Liberal Democrat’s Wales Spokesperson in the House of Lords said: “This Bill seeks to protect the powers of the Senedd, ensuring that the powers conferred on it by previous Government of Wales Acts and by the people of Wales cannot be unilaterally amended without the consent of the Senedd.
“The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill, the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, the Subsidy Control Bill and the Professional Qualifications Bill are all examples of the UK Government are challenging or usurping the powers of the devolved Parliaments demonstrating why the Bill is needed.
“It is clear that the UK Government do not have a mandate from the Welsh people to undermine the powers of the Senedd.
“The Liberal Democrats want to see a federal system where safeguards such as this Bill would be enshrined in the constitution. My party has always been in favour of a federal UK, where the different nations have responsibility for their own affairs while working together on common issues.
“For a federal system to work, a federal Government should not be able to remove the powers of devolved nations on a whim or to bind the union together, as our present settlement allows.
“This Bill will have the support of the Liberal Democrats as it moves forward.”
When Dafydd Wigley introduced the Bill, he said it would put new legal safeguards in place for devolved powers.
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.
He 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.
“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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