People of Wales back more members for the Senedd, poll reveals
The people of Wales back the idea of having more members in the Senedd, a poll has revealed.
The poll by Beaufort Research commissioned by the Western Mail newspaper suggested that with ‘don’t knows’ removed, 61.5% wanted more Senedd Members and 38.5% did not.
One thousand people were asked: “The Senedd / Welsh Parliament is currently considering whether to increase the number of elected Senedd Members.
“A panel of experts said the current number of 60 was too low to represent the people of Wales, hold the Welsh Government to account and deal with its growing workload effectively.
“As a result, they recommended an increase to around 90 members. This will incur extra costs. The Scottish Parliament has 129 elected members while the Northern Ireland Assembly has 90 elected members.
“To what extent do you agree or disagree that the number of Senedd Members should be increased to around 90?”
13% strongly agreed, 35% agreed, 21% didn’t know, 14% disagreed and 16% strongly disagreed.
The results also included significant generational and linguistic divides. 61% of 16-34-year-olds wanted to see more Senedd Members, while just 34% of those over 55 wanted them. 65% of fluent Welsh speakers wanted more Senedd Members compared with 41% of non-Welsh speakers.
Last year, a report by Labour and Plaid members on a Senedd committee backed expanding to 90 members, from the current 60.
The Plaid Cymru and Labour cooperation agreement in the Senedd is also committed to expanding the Senedd.
The agreement text states that Plaid Cymru and Labour will “support plans to reform the Senedd, based on 80 to 100 Members; a voting system, which is as proportional – or more – than the current one and have gender quotas in law”.
“We will support the work of the Senedd Special Purpose Committee and introduce a Senedd reform Bill 12 to 18 months after it reports,” it says.
In 2017, Cardiff University’s Professor Laura McAllister conducted an in-depth review on the issue. Her Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform recommended the Assembly should be increased to between 80 and 90 members and also a change to a Single Transferable Vote system of choosing MS.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said in May of last year that there were still “significant practical issues to work through”
“I want to see the Senedd properly fit to discharge its responsibilities,” he said. “It’s a matter not just of numbers but it’s a matter of method of election as well, which is a thorny issue, on which there are many views”
However, he added that there was “growing enthusiasm” for a Welsh Parliament “fit to discharge its responsibilities”.
The number of MPs in Wales is due to be cut from 40 to 32 and the next General Election.
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