Welsh Conservatives slam plans to reform the Senedd
The Welsh Conservatives have slammed proposals announced today by Mark Drakeford and Adam Price which would see the Senedd expand to 96 members in time for the 2026 elections.
In a joint statement the First Minister and leader of Plaid Cymru also announced plans for all members to be elected through proportional representation, making Wales the first country in Britain to abolish the First Past the Post system at a parliamentary level.
Responding to the position statement published today, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies criticised the plans and claimed they would cost more than £75 million.
He said said: “Wales does not need more politicians in Cardiff Bay – we need more teachers, doctors, dentists, and nurses.
“With residents across the country facing cost-of-living pressures, the last thing they need is to be footing the bill – expected to be more than £75 million over five years at least – for Labour and Plaid’s pet project.
“Ministers should be spending that money on tackling the big issues facing Wales, not wasting time and cash looking at upping the number of Senedd members.
“Now is the time to fix our broken NHS, get the economy fired up, and boost our education system, but sadly Labour and Plaid have got their priorities completely skewed.
“Whilst we have consistently objected to more politicians, we recognise Labour and Plaid have enough votes to push ahead and that’s why we have engaged constructively with the Senedd Reform Committee – but sadly it appears both parties have completely undermined the committee’s work with today’s announcement.”
Shadow Minister for the Constitution, Darren Millar MS, added: “It is disappointing that the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru have sought to thwart the work of the Welsh Parliament’s Senedd Reform Committee by issuing this statement today.
“While the Welsh Conservatives have always been clear that we oppose plans to increase the number of politicians in Wales, we have accepted that there is a mandate for change and, for that reason, we have played a constructive role in the work of the Senedd Reform Committee to date.
“Today’s statement suggests that the Labour and Plaid leaders want to strongarm the committee and dictate its conclusions rather than to allow the committee to complete its independent work.
“We joined this process in good faith, but it looks like that was misplaced.”
In Tuesday’s statement, Mark Drakeford and Adam Price said they wanted reform to be implemented in time for the next election in 2026, even if some of the changes are introduced on an interim basis.
- The Senedd should have 96 Members.
- It should be elected using closed proportional lists with integrated statutory gender quotas and mandatory zipping. Seats should be allocated to parties using the D’Hondt formula.
- The 2026 Senedd election should use the final 32 UK Parliament constituencies proposed by the Boundary Commission for Wales once it has concluded its 2023 Parliamentary Review.
- These constituencies should be paired to create 16 Senedd constituencies. Each constituency should elect six Members.
- A full boundary review should be instigated in this Senedd term and its recommendations should take effect from the subsequent Senedd election.
Mr Drakeford said: “The case for Senedd reform has been made. We now need to get on with the hard work to create a modern Senedd, which reflects the Wales we live in today. A Parliament that truly works for Wales.
“The joint position statement we are publishing today will help support the important work of the cross-party Special Purpose Committee to move Senedd reform forwards.”
Mr Price added. “These reforms will lay the foundations for a stronger Welsh democracy and a fairer, more representative Senedd that will look entirely different to the outdated political system at Westminster.
“A stronger, more diverse, more representative Senedd will have a greater capacity to perform its primary purpose of making a positive difference to the lives of the people of Wales”
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