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People of Wales back more members for the Senedd, poll reveals

28 Feb 2022 3 minutes Read
Senedd chamber Picture by the Welsh Government.

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.

‘Thorny’

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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Richard
Richard
2 months ago

Further real evidence that things are moving on as expected. I had a meeting of a sports club I attend this morning- the first since lock down. Folk were very free with the views after nearly two years away from face2face events. A rough take on views Mark Drakeford and co a bit bossy but in the round have done ✅ a good job and protected us… The ‘ Welsh Parliament ‘ again as mostley in a positive light by our over 55 aged members.✅ Boris ? Mixed views of course but certainly less anger than there was though little… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

Another poll, flying in the face of the anti devolution Tory’s. So, 2 referendum’s, a poll backing more MS in the Senedd, and other poll’s backing more powers and greater devolution to Cymru. When will they accept and respect our choices? probably never, so, Indy it is then.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
2 months ago

Good news, let’s get it done asap.

Arwyn
Arwyn
2 months ago

Care needs to be taken to ensure the non-Welsh speaking contingent who were against are brought into this conversation. Reform appears very likely now but we should take care not to allow resentment to fester. There are already bad faith actors about sowing seeds of discontent where they go. Having a Senedd that all in Wales feel represents them well is no bad thing. I know you can’t please everyone but meaningful action would pay dividends in the long run.

Last edited 2 months ago by Arwyn
Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
2 months ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Who is stopping non-Welsh speaking people from joining the conversation?

Grayham Jones
2 months ago

It’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 a Free Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Thanks for your input Graham! lol 😀

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Racist, anti english is what you are. Thats it. I would go to war for my grandchildren against any of you lot. You are mostly a discrace to the older generations.

Richard
Richard
2 months ago
Reply to  David

Which “ lot “ are you referring to David ? Grayham has his own strong and individual views which he expresses in his own unique way. On this site individually expressed views are welcome and open to comment. I’m sure your grandchildren like mine wouldn’t want their Taid / Tad cu / Gramps to get too cross or “ go to war “unless it perhaps where involving one’s country as in Ukraine 🇺🇦..

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
2 months ago
Reply to  David

Don’t make the mistake of confusing racism and anti-colonialism.

Adrian Meagher
Adrian Meagher
2 months ago

I see from this article that the number of Senedd members is likely to be increased to 80-100. In my opinion there should be a tradeoff between the proportionality of the chosen electoral system and the total number of SMs. A highly proportional system would result from STV elections in 16 swperetholaethau (SEau) made by doubling up the 32 Westminster constituencies and if each SE elected 5 SMs then the total would 80. By contrast, a less proportional system could be achieved by STV elections for 3 SMs in each of the 32 Westminster constituencies. Then there would be more… Read more »

Dai
Dai
2 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Meagher

Many people are bitterly opposed to multiple-member constituencies, and to party tickets.

R W
R W
2 months ago
Reply to  Dai

It would certainly be much better than the terrible two-tier system we’re lumbered with at the moment. It would also make it harder for opportunistic right-wing anti-devolution parties (other than the Tories) to win any seats.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  R W

Agreed. First Past the Post is undemocratic & has no place in a 21st century multi party democracy. It means MPs can get elected with just 30% of the vote, and forces people to choose between the lesser of two evils. The only ones who favour maintaining first past the post are the Tories and elements of the Labour party because it benefits them.

Greg Lance-Watkins
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

It is worth noting that your random selection of 30% is more than born out when you consider that currently Labour and their puppets in Plaid only obtained the votes of 28% of the electorate yet that gives them a clear majority – such is the contempt for politics and politicians in the Welsh Region.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 months ago

I’m glad to see this poll. Our Senedd Cymru has the least amount of politicians out of all the Parliaments & Assembly of the UK. And since its establishment in 1997, has had further powers and responsibility but no rise in members or civil servants to manage the increased workload. See, having additional MS members has never been more important as now. Our voice has been cynically reduced to a mere whimper at Westminster by the Tories with a reduction of Wales MPs from 40 to 32, and with the Tory sly covert power grab agenda need to make Wales… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Y Cymro
Adrian Meagher
Adrian Meagher
2 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Wales population is 3.2M,, Northern Ireland 1.9M which is not 3 times smaller, not even 2 times smaller. The better comparison is with Scotland 5.5M. If Wales had 80 SMs that would be roughly proportional to Scotlands 129 MSPs

Argol Fawr!
Argol Fawr!
2 months ago

While I strongly support strengthening a Welsh Gov in a cleverer way, “13% strongly agreed, 35% agreed, 21% didn’t know, 14% disagreed” is not a mandate. On considering such a proposal, and pondering over a gravy train of wannabe sub standard career politicians, especially from the ‘nuttier end of the spectrum (and that includes the Tories, labour and some PC’s… the LDems aren’t worth mentioning), I’m very far from convinced? Who of the contributing Welsh residents are willing to squander their taxes (in whatever guise) and are willing to pay for this? This is the stuff of a Banana republic,… Read more »

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
2 months ago
Reply to  Argol Fawr!

That would certainly apply if they were all just sitting around drinking tea and then going home. The workload is already too great for only 40 AS’s, and there is also a scrutiny deficit.

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