Former Archbishop of Canterbury and Wales captain to chair ‘national conversation’ on Wales’ future
A former Archbishop of Canterbury and Welsh international football captain will be co-chairs of an independent Constitutional Commission to consider Wales’ future.
Dr Rowan Williams and Professor Laura McAllister will chair the commission set up by the Welsh Government to engage with the public for a national conversation about the future of Wales.
The aim, according to the Welsh Government, will be to develop options for fundamental reform of the constitutional structures of the UK and how it can best improve outcomes for the people of Wales.
But Laura McAllister said that all options would be in the table – including independence.
The establishment of an independent commission to consider the constitutional future of Wales was a commitment in the Wesh Labour manifesto for the Senedd election.
Following the appointment of the co-chairs the remaining members will be confirmed next month and its first meeting is expected to be in November.
Professor Laura McAllister is a Professor of Public Policy and the Governance of Wales at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre. She is an expert on devolution, Welsh politics and elections, public policy and the representation of women in politics.
She is a former Chair of Sport Wales and board member of UK Sport, a current Director of the Football Association of Wales Trust, Deputy Chair of UEFA Women’s Football Committee, and former Wales international football captain with 24 caps.
She said: “Serious contributions to our constitutional debate are greatly needed and I’m looking forward to our work contributing to filling that space.
“We’ll think boldly and radically about all potential options for the future of Wales, in the context of the increasing pressure on the Union.”
Asked whether the commission would also look at independence, she told the BBC it would be “ludicrous to remove any options at this stage”.
“I think everything is supposed to be on the table, quite rightly,” she said. “It’s important to be clear about language. Independence means different things depending on different contexts.”
Dr Rowan Williams, born in Swansea, was the Bishop of Monmouth (1992-2002), and Archbishop of Wales (1999-2002), and then Archbishop of Canterbury (2002-2012).
Since 2014 he has been Chancellor of the University of South Wales and Chair of the international development charity Christian Aid.
He commented: “This Commission’s job is to ask what structures and constitutional provisions will best release the potential of Welsh communities and Welsh people.
“We want to make sure that the governance of Wales is effective, accountable and imaginative, and look forward to hearing what hopes and visions are animating people around the country.”
Wales’ Senedd manifesto at May’s election said that the UK was a voluntary association of four nations with sovereignty shared among its four democratic legislatures in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“We support the UK-wide Constitutional Commission being established by the Labour Party to drive forward much-needed change to a system of governance of the UK that is irreparably broken and will remain so without a UK Labour Government,” they said.
“Welsh Labour will fight for radical constitutional change based on the principles of federalism and in the next Senedd we will lead Wales in a national civic conversation about our constitutional future.
“We will build on the work of the Senedd Committee on electoral reform, chaired by Welsh Labour’s Dawn Bowden, and develop proposals to improve the representation of the people of Wales in their Parliament.”
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