House of Lords backs Plaid Cymru proposal to protect Senedd from Westminster ‘power-grabs’
The House of Lords has backed legislation proposed by Plaid Cymru designed to protect the Senedd from Westminster power-grabs without overwhelming approval from Senedd members.
The Government of Wales (Devolved Powers) Bill, is sponsored by former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley and aims to establish legal safeguards for powers devolved to the Senedd.
It would ensure that any alteration or reduction in the Welsh Parliament’s powers must obtain a ‘super-majority’ consensus from two-thirds of Senedd members.
Plaid Cymru has described the bill as being a response to “relentless power-grabs” by the Conservative Government since the referendum to leave the European Union.
Today’s vote is the first time a Plaid Cymru Bill has passed in the House of Lords.
Now it has finished Third Reading, it will now progress to the House of Commons.
Plaid Cymru MPs will be urging the UK Government to make time for the Bill to be discussed at the earliest opportunity.
Dafydd Wigley said: “Ahead of today’s debate, I had indications of support from individual members from all four groups in the Lords – Labour, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and crossbench. I am very grateful to them as well as Senedd Cymru for their advice in progressing this Bill.
“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.
“I now look forward to seeing what progress can be made by MPs in considering the merits of these proposals. I strongly believe that there is cross-party support for there to be a new understanding between Westminster and Senedd Cymru. I believe that there is a better climate emerging but there needs to be further work to be done. This legislation would be a means for doing that.”
Plaid Cymru Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP added: “I congratulate Dafydd Wigley on the passing of his Bill. Plaid Cymru MPs will be pushing for time to be made at the earliest opportunity for the Bill to be debated in the House of Commons.
“Wales has endured relentless power-grabs since the beginning of the Brexit progress. This Bill would ensure that the people of Wales, through their elected representatives in the Senedd, decide whether powers can be taken away – and to block unilateral attempts by Westminster to undermine their wishes.”
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