‘Stronger Senedd an absolute must’ say Plaid ahead of ‘historic’ vote on expansion and voting reform
A stronger Senedd is an “absolute must”, Plaid Cymru have said ahead on a ‘historic’ vote on Senedd reform later today.
The Welsh parliament will vote later on today to endorse recommendations made to expand and change the voting system for the Senedd and implement them in time for the next Senedd elections in 2026.
Last week’s report from the Senedd’s Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform endorses a plan set out last month by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price for a 96 member Senedd using a proportional voting method.
If today’s vote passes the Welsh Government will begin work on a Senedd Reform Bill – making Senedd reform by 2026 highly likely.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for the constitution, Rhys ab Owen MS said that today’s vote was an “opportunity” to deliver a parliament that would work for Wales and to “boost” Welsh democracy – making it “more powerful, fairer and more representative”.
“Just like the Wales football team, we’ve seen a growing confidence in Wales over the past couple of years. A confidence in our national parliament – in our capability to do things differently. So, it’s not about more politicians. It’s about super-powering our parliament – making it fit to represent our people. A stronger Senedd isn’t a nice to have. It’s an absolute must.
“I hope we take that step today, just like the team took a step on Sunday, towards that game-changer moment.
“And, while Plaid Cymru will continue to make the case for Wales to become an independent nation, building a stronger, more representative Senedd fit to serve the people of Wales is something we can all surely agree on.”
‘In the hands of the public’
Yesterday the Welsh Conservatives called for a referendum on expanding the Senedd before it was put to a vote.
“It will be the most significant shake-up to elections to the Senedd since it was founded back in 1999, scrapping the current system whereby 40 Members are elected on a first-past-the-post basis,” Clwyd West Senedd Member Darren Millar said during plenary.
“Now, when such significant changes to voting systems have been presented in the past, they have been put to the public vote, for the public to have a say via a referendum.
“Back in 2011, when there was a proposal to scrap the first-past-the-post system for Westminster elections, quite rightly, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, put that decision into the hands of the public via a referendum.
“Given that there was no specific mention of an increase in Members of the Senedd in your party’s manifesto for the last Senedd election, do you accept that there is a need for the public to have a direct say on the package of proposals that is being put forward before this Senedd and will be debated tomorrow?” he asked the First Minister.
Mark Drakeford replied that the public had “already had their say”.
“They elected Members to this Senedd in a sufficient number to bring about, as Darren Millar said, the greatest reform of the Senedd since its inception,” he said.
“Those of us who stood on manifestos in favour of reform look forward to taking this to a conclusion.”
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