Watch: Senedd Member launches scathing attack on Tory ‘hypocrisy’ over calls for referendum
A Senedd Member has launched a scathing rebuttal to Tory criticism of Senedd reform, saying that their “hypocrisy absolutely turns my stomach”.
Plaid Cymru member Llŷr Gruffydd was responding to calls by Conservative Senedd Members for a referendum on expanding the Senedd.
Conservative Senedd Member James Evans said that every major constitutional change to the Senedd had been done via a public vote, “and the people have a right to have their say on these changes”.
But Llŷr Gruffydd responded that he was “saddened and quite sickened” by what he called the “fake anger” from the Conservative benches.
“Those very same politicians don’t bat an eyelid when the British Prime Minister wholesomely swells the ranks of the House of Lords,” he said. “No calls for a referendum there, of course.
“They’re unelected and, of course, many of them are appointed against the recommendation and advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.
“Well, who was on about jobs for the boys five minutes ago? Who’s been on about backroom deals and dark corridors?
“And when it comes to cost, we know that the House of Lords costs taxpayers £15 million a year in daily allowances alone. ‘How many doctors and nurses is that?’ I don’t hear you say.
“You know, the refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster is going to be in the billions—some figures up to £18 billion. Eighteen billion pounds. That’s eighteen thousand million pounds. And you’re not bothered by that.
“But yet, when we talk about strengthening Welsh democracy, ‘Oh, no. No, no, no. We can’t have that, it costs too much. We need a referendum.’
“Come on. Your hypocrisy absolutely turns my stomach.”
40 eventually voted for the Senedd reform, with 14 voting against it.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds voted for the motion, despite being critical of some aspects of the reforms and calling them a “stitch-up” between Plaid Cymru and Labour.
She was a member of the committee discussing Senedd reform and said that a surprise announcement between First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price had overridden their discussions.
“The morning the committee was due to meet, I was very sad and disappointed that a press release was made with a totally new proposal on preferred boundaries that had never been discussed before, and, it seemed, the proposed and agreed voting system,” she said.
“This really undermined the cross-party work that I happen to hold very dear and which, to that date, I felt very privileged to be part of.
“The surprise announcement by Plaid Cymru and Labour did the committee a disservice. It prejudged the debate here today and the legislative process that will follow.
“It looks like a stitch-up and it feels like a stitch-up. To make an announcement before the committee published its report, and to favour proposals so different from what the evidence tells us, was a very disappointing approach.”
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