English Tory MP slams Senedd expansion plans
Former Conservative minister Jonathan Gullis has attacked plans to expand the Senedd, describing it as a waste of money.
During a question to Welsh secretary David TC Davies during Wednesday’s meeting of the Welsh Affairs Committee, Mr Gullis, the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North, said: “Wales gets £1.20 per head for public services for every £1 in England. Yet the Welsh Labour-run government spends less than this on their public services”.
“Does the minister agree with me that ruinous Welsh Labour Government should stop wasting the money on things like the Senedd expansion and instead spend money where it is needed, tackling the backlogs in hospitals and stopping the decline of education in Wales?”
The Welsh Secretary replied: “There is money being wasted in the Senedd on, for example, up to £100 million increasing the number of Senedd members at a time of economic difficulty, and I hope that the Members chuntering on the other side of the House are listening carefully to what he has to say.”
Proposals to expand the Senedd from 60 members to 96 have been backed by both Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru.
The cost of expansion is estimated to be around £12 million per year, with the changes introduced in time for the next Senedd election in 2026.
An opinion poll conducted last summer suggested the public aren’t on board with the expansion plans.
The YouGov poll asked the public: ‘Do you support or oppose increasing the number of seats in the Senedd, from 60 to 96?’
With ‘don’t’ knows’ removed, only 39% backed expanding the Senedd, with 61% opposed.
A large chunk of respondents, 33%, however, fell into the ‘don’t know’ bracket, suggesting that there is a lack of public knowledge about the plans.
Then Welsh Secretary Simon Hart, the MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, demand a referendum on expanding the Senedd last year, a call which has been supported by the Welsh Conservatives.
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