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Welsh Government reveal members of its new Constitutional Commission

16 Nov 2021 5 minutes Read
The Senedd. Picture by Senedd Cymru.

The Welsh Government has revealed the members of its new Constitutional Commission.

The independent commission has been created to make recommendations about Wales’ constitutional future.

The commission will develop options for the fundamental reform of the constitutional structures of the UK in which Wales remains an integral part and it will also consider all progressive options to strengthen Welsh democracy.

Last month, Professor Laura McAllister and Dr Rowan Williams were confirmed as the co-chairs of the commission.

Professor McAllister has said that all options would be in the table – including independence.

The commissioners, who will be working with the co-chairs, are:

  • Dr Anwen Elias, a Reader in Politics at Aberystwyth University. Her research interests include comparative territorial and constitutional politics, political parties and deliberative democracy. She is co-director of the Centre for Welsh Politics and Society and the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Data and Research.
  • Miguela Gonzalez, a diversity and inclusion practitioner and a former journalist. She worked for the BBC for 15 years, most recently as the diversity and inclusion lead for the nations. She currently works for life science firm Abcam, where she is working to build an open and inclusive culture. Miguela has worked with the Welsh Government on the implementation of the Culture Connect Cymru project and has also been a visiting lecturer at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture.
  • Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London and Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity. Professor Marmot has led research groups on health inequalities for over 40 years. He chaired the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, several WHO Regional Commissions, and reviews on tacking health inequality for governments in the UK.
  • Lauren McEvatt, a former Conservative UK Government special adviser to the Wales Office, during the coalition administration, when she worked on the Silk Commission and the Wales Act 2014. She has subsequently worked for several governments across East Africa and the Caribbean, on constitutional reform, trade and investment.
  • Albert Owen, the former Labour MP for Ynys Mon from 2001 to 2019. During his time in Parliament he was a member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, Welsh Affairs Select Committee and the International Development Committee.
  • Philip Rycroft, who was a civil servant for 30 years. He worked at a senior level for the devolved government in Scotland before moving to the Cabinet Office in London where he led civil service work for the UK Government on the constitution and devolution. His last posting was as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU.
  • Shavanah Taj, Wales TUC’s first BME General Secretary. Shavanah is a passionate campaigner and can often be found contributing speeches at round table debates and protest marches on issues such as anti-racism, just transition, climate change, human rights, women’s rights, fair pay and fair work.
  • Kirsty Williams, a former Member of the Senedd and Minister for Education in the Welsh Government during the Fifth Senedd. She became the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats in December 2008 and, at the time, she was the first female leader of a Welsh political party in the Senedd.
  • Leanne Wood, a former Member of the Senedd for the Rhondda and former Leader of Plaid Cymru. She was the first female leader of her party, and has a longstanding commitment to issues of social justice.

‘Expert panel’ 

The commission will be supported by an expert panel, which will bring expertise in areas including governance, law, constitution, the environment, economics, and finance. Its first meeting will be on 25 November.

Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said: “Each commissioner brings with them different strengths, knowledge, experience and perspectives. They are drawn from across Wales, across the UK, and further afield and from across the political spectrum.

“Collectively, the commissioners combine the academic rigor and the alternative perspectives the commission will need to think creatively and radically about Wales’ future.

“I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to engage with the commission and join the national conversation about our constitutional future.”

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed moves to appoint members of the new independent Constitutional Commission.

Commenting on the appointments, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “I am delighted to see such a range of well-respected and extremely qualified individuals appointed to this panel. All of those appointed will bring a range of valid views and have my utmost confidence to lead the conversation on our constitutional future.

“Our democracy in Wales continues to evolve and the need for this Commission has never been clearer. Changing attitudes within the Welsh population have shown continuous growth in those who wish to see more powers lie within Wales.

“It is reassuring to see some strong liberal voices on this panel that I know will argue for the fairest settlement for Wales and we continue on the next step of our democratic story.

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Derec Stockley
Derec Stockley
13 days ago

Excitant that all is about to begin. Pob lwc!

Derec Stockley
Derec Stockley
13 days ago
Reply to  Derec Stockley

‘Exciting’ is the word. Autocorrect again!

Gareth W
Gareth W
13 days ago

I’d love the outcome to be a recommendation for independence but in my heart I know this won’t happen. I should try to keep an open mind and see what the results are. I hope not a recommendation for Radical Federalism which will go nowhere.

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
13 days ago

Rycroft: “His last posting was as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU.” Didn’t do a very good job there, but hopefully he can bring his expertise to creating the Adran Gadael y DU/Dept for leaving the UK

hdavies15
hdavies15
13 days ago

If the boy learned from his mistakes he could be of use to the next big exit – doesn’t need a department just open the eff’in’ door !

defaid
defaid
13 days ago

I was wondering about that, too. We’ve left the EU so I suppose he fulfilled the requirement… OTOH, he did take early retirement from that role, which may imply something about his relationship with the Westminster government.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
13 days ago

Pob lwc to them. Some good names here. Particularly happy to see Albert Owen and Leanne Wood there. Hopefully this will be a decisive commission and it’s recommendations will be fully adopted and not watered down by hostile politicians acting in their own interests, as happened with the commissions of Richards, Silk etc.

ArgolFawr
ArgolFawr
13 days ago

Nice to see the rejected and dejected being looked after post elections/retirement.

Meic Dafis
Meic Dafis
13 days ago

Thank goodness the Commission’s members include a diversity and inclusion practitioner.

Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
13 days ago
Reply to  Meic Dafis

Would have been good to see a proper economist or business person included to explore the matter of demiceatic and economic deficit to its fullest

hdavies15
hdavies15
13 days ago
Reply to  Meic Dafis

That’s to inject a bit of humour into proceedings.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago

This is long overdue. Our Senedd democracy suffers not only due lack of sufficient members to scrutinise Welsh Government legislation, but also powers & levers vital to the prosperity and democracy of our nation. And what must not happen, as done with the 2002 Ivor Richard & 2011 Paul Silk commissions, is any recommendations made must be respected by Whitehall and not kicked into the long grass due to interference from Unionist Labour and Conservative MPs & Lords in London hostile to further Welsh devolution. And it’s important that this commission is not advisory but have teeth and be acted… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Y Cymro
Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
13 days ago

I think there should also be a representative from YesCymru on the panel – with 32,000 supporters, and growing, it is a voice that now needs to be heard too.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
13 days ago

Disappointed to see the commission doesnt include someone with a proven background in Welsh economic development eg. someone like Dr John Ball.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
13 days ago

Interesting that the BBC does not consider this item newsworthy …

CJPh
CJPh
13 days ago

Spot on. Once again, our “national” broadcaster, using our money, fails to cover national issues. Rhyddid nawr.

CJPh
CJPh
13 days ago

As welcome as this commission is, I feel that current or former politicians (save for heads of state), specific-cause activists and anyone from the field of HR should have been precluded from participation – but understand arguments to the contrary. What I don;t get are the glaring omissions – No business representation, no military representation, no representation from arts & culture or sport and leisure, no philosophers. I do hope that certain members confound my pessimism by approaching this non-partisan panel from the necessary and required position. Not doing so will give very hot ammo to those who wish to… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
13 days ago

I hope this does not become just a talk shop, and recommendations are not kicked into the grass by the UK government. If it does recommend a federal system, then it MUST include: 1) Devolution in England into states, such as Mercia, Yorkshire, Umbria, Wessea, Cornwall, Anglia & London Region, so there is no large single central power block. 2) Democratic PR voting system: Single Transferable voting system to be used in all elections. 3) All states MUST be able to send their ministers to the replacement 2nd house in the UK. 4) A written constitution and bill of rights… Read more »

Richard
Richard
13 days ago

I had understood Umbria was in
Italy ?

Cornwall of course is a celtic nation…!

defaid
defaid
13 days ago

Very pleased to see this finally happening. Independence is my preference but as long as the recommensations are in Wales’ best interest, I’m not too worried about the outcome.

I’m expecting Westminster to refuse to cooperate on, or even to acknowledge, the final recommendation but that may push the Welsh Parliament and civil service into a more radical stance.

Last edited 13 days ago by defaid
Richard
Richard
13 days ago

The great and the good – once again – worthy folk – but o god – when will we ever
learn to engage with modern Wales, young
Wales, diverse Wales and aspiring Wales – not the committee bound and most of course unknown to the man & women in the ‘ stryd ‘!

i wish them luck 🙏

Max Wallis
12 days ago

No #YesCymru rep but a few cronies. Kirsty Williams failed Edn Minister, and one with still less nous on Constitution, Miguela Gonzalez – fresh from the collapse of the BBC’S pro-Stonewall policy. McAllister is of course a Stonewall ally

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