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Welsh Government Senedd reform plans will ‘lock in a Labour government forever’ says Tory MP

21 May 2022 3 minutes Read
David TC Davies, left. Mark Drakeford, right.

Plans by the Welsh Government to reform the Senedd’s voting system will “lock in a Labour government forever” a Welsh Conservative MP has said.

Speaking at the Welsh Conservative conference in Newtown, Powys, Monmouth MP David TC Davies accused Labour and Plaid Cymru of keeping their plans secret until after the local election so as not to attract opposition by voters.

His comments come after the First Minister and leader of Plaid Cymru, in a joint statement last week, 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.

But David TC Davies said that the Welsh Conservatives would “”fight against Welsh government plans to try and lock in a Labour government forever by removing local representation and fiddling with the voting system”.

“By creating huge constituencies and using close PR [proportional representation] lists they’re going to remove the local accountability, which was supposed to be one of the advantages of having a Senedd, and concentrate power in the hands of a few party managers,” he said.

“The simple fact that they kept these plans a secret until the day after the local council elections tells us all we need to know.”

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‘Foundation’

In last week’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.

They stated:

  • 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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MR STEPHEN DANIEL
MR STEPHEN DANIEL
1 month ago

The Tories would never dream of doing anything like that!

Cathy Hill
Cathy Hill
1 month ago

What he actually means is: the greater the quality of the democracy the less likely it is people with selfish motives that act on behalf of the monied classes can grab the reigns of power and smash everything up.

…boo hoo…

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
1 month ago

Why doesn’t that judas worry about the voting system in his beloved westminster that is 300 years out of date? We knew these were being planned because it was in 2 seperate party manifestos. This a-hole has zero to do with the Senedd, so keep that fascist nose out.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

If Wales went fully first past the post as what Peter Hain was advocating a decade ago then yes we would have a permanent Labour one party state majority. Proportional representation actually helps the Conservatives, can’t they see that?

Steve George
Steve George
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

TC Davies misses the point. The only reason labour will continue in power indefinitely is if people continue voting for them in greater numbers than for other parties. That will happen under any electoral system. Having said that, the system proposed isnt proportional and also places power firmly in the hands of party managers. It completely removes choice from voters over which individuals represent them. Replacing de Hondt with STV would be more proportional and would give voters a say over who represents them. TC is a bit dim but he does have at least a partial point. Sometimes even… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve George

He’s ALWAYS wrong in EVERY way. It comes with being a Vidkun.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve George

Your last para sums up our present weakness. Too much rejoicing about “change” but the outcome will most likely protect Labour control, sometimes aided by a minor party. It will NOT deliver independence as long as anything remotely akin to that situation prevails.

Steve George
Steve George
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Agreed. And I’m a Plaid member that wants independence. But live in the real world where that’s not going to happen for at least a little while yet. In the meanwhile we can’t get suckered into this stance of “absolutely everything the Tories say about everything is automatically wrong”. The truth is the new electoral system Labour (and Plaid) is proposing *will* entrench Labour (a Unionist party) to some extent *and* is fundamentally a transfer of power from voters to party managers. While, at the same time, being hardly proportional at all. If you care about Wales’ constitutional future oppose… Read more »

Dafydd y Garth
Dafydd y Garth
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve George

Steve, you are right that the Tories are not always wrong about everything; and I think that Top Cat Davies is right when he attacks the proposed alterations (the motivations for that attack are a different question). The proposals put forward by Drakeford and Price are certainly less bad than FPTP, but contain undesirable features.: (1) integrated statutory gender quotas and mandatory zipping are an assault on personal freedom: good candidates should not be barred from standing because they have a dick; (2) )The D’Hondt formula is superficially more democratic, but in the real world it gives unwarranteed power to some… Read more »

Steve George
Steve George
1 month ago
Reply to  Dafydd y Garth

*If* we have to put up with this system then I’m afraid I’d be in favour of the sex balance arrangements as one of the few progressive things about it. The fact is though that sex balance doesn’t work as simply in more open systems. (Although there’s a lot to be said for each constituency electing one two or three from each sex. You just vote for your favourite man/men and favourite woman/women.) Unfortunately, STV is not at all proportional (maybe even less proportional than FPTP) in single member constituencies. It only becomes proportional when each constituency elects around 4… Read more »

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Actually, this specific electoral voting system will benefit all three of the large parties in the Senedd at the expense of smaller ones. It is a stitch up against fundamental change in the political make up of the Senedd. No to Greens, Propel, Lib Dems or any other potential breakthrough. Open lists will allow voters to elect party candidates who don’t follow the party line. STV in Senedd elections would be a game changer 🤗

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

If anything will lock in a permanent left wing government it’s the appalling behaviour of the English tories and their lickspittals.

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago

I do believe STV would be best but Davies has got a right cheek to complain given how Westminster’s electoral system delivers Tory governments on a minority of the vote. It’s a total joke that the Tories have any say in the governance of Wales whatsoever. They have control of no local authorities and have never won a national vote in Wales for the entire history of democracy here.

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

They have control of no local authorities and have never won a national vote in Wales for the entire history of democracy here.

____________

Indeed so. The last time the Tories won an General Election in Cymru was 1859.

Methuselah and I were classmates back then and I can tell you they weren’t the good ol’ days some of you whippersnappers think them to me. Why, Joseph Williams, our 8 year old neighbour down the road, had just been stopped from going up chimneys …

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago

Oh get over yourself Unionist Tories in Wales! Just because YOU think the “battle” is between you and Labour, doesn’t mean it is. You are a spent force here and tinkering by Labour isn’t shutting you out. It’s your own policies and behaviours so ferme la bouche eh? You will be bystanders in the war for the heart of Cymru. We are a nation economically of the left, which rules you out. So this will be a battle of the socially libertarian vs the socially authoritarian. (PC are not socially libertarian but they are less authoritarian than Welsh Labour –… Read more »

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago

But it’s ok to have a system in place in England that keeps giving the other countries of the UK a government that they don’t vote for, tories need to wind their necks in with their recent record of corruption, criminality and sex abuse, parasites!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

David TC Davies hang your sorry little Englander head in shame. You falsely claim how the Senedd expansion from 60 to 96 members has been done to enable Welsh Labour to rule in perpetuity, where the reality the Senedd is creaking under the strain and it needs more members to take up the workload and enable proper scrutiny government. And since 1999 Welsh Labour has effectively won every Senedd Election because the Welsh electorate voted Labour. It pains me to say this being a passionate Welsh Nationalist & advocate of independence. But I speak the truth unlike David TC Davies… Read more »

Owain Morgan
Owain Morgan
1 month ago

Yes, Closed lists under a basic PR voting system calculated by the d’hondt method, which magics up votes out of no where, probably will ensure that Labour will be in power until the Welsh electorate is motivated to vote them out. However, this really is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Tories attacking Labour for what they do themselves 🙄😒 “Gerrymandering you say Tory?! You mean that thing you’re trying to do at Westminster.” 😂😂 This is exactly why I say “A plague a both your houses!” to Labourites and Tories. They’re both as bad as each… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

So,let me get this right,he is in favour of a system that will put his party in power with 40% of the popular vote, UK wide, but against a system in Cymru, of PR, where his party will get more elected members, but due to voting trends within Cymru, will never have total control. What part of democracy does he not understand, or, how much gerrymandering will satisfy him and his ilk. His party in Cymru may take Russian money, but Russian style democracy will not be tolerated in Cymru.

Lebowski
Lebowski
1 month ago

Wasn’t like they were going to win with FPTP + PR on 60 seats

Cymraeg
Cymraeg
1 month ago

Like it or not, the reality is that the British monarchy popularity is at an all time high, and in Wales the popularity is higher than in England.

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  Cymraeg

Untrue. The royal serfs are excited and louder than normal because the old biddy has a Jubilee. The flag waving unionist aristos and their proxies are shrieking that everyone is excited.
But there has been no surge in support for the imported shiny hat wearers. Same as normal. The old folks love kneeling but every subsequent generation reduces in support for them

Dafydd y Garth
Dafydd y Garth
1 month ago
Reply to  Cymraeg

Cymraeg, in the latest online poll by YouGov about the new Jubilee cities, a substantial majority of contributers expressed anti-Royalist comments. When the queen was specifically mentioned, favourable comments about her personal conduct were about as numerous as unfavourable ones. A tiny number of people expressed extreme loalty to Mrs Windsor, and mostly inclued aggressive abuse of republicans. While monarchism is rhemp (rampant) in my constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire, I do not accept that this is so throughout Wales.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Well if you wait long enough – an issue wil
appear that David Davies gets right – to a certain extent……it has been a long wait though

this new system will hand powers to political fixers in ( no longer ) smoke filled rooms…
and discriminate against Greens. & Liberals

the issue of local councils also needs addressing – fewer councillors

  • – fewer councils
  • – community council reform

A Parliament of 100

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard
Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

This is why independence is of such critical importance. It is not certain that Welsh Labour will be in power here forever. As Scotland leaves the UK, it may be the case that Welsh voters will swing in the Plaid Cymru direction but a Welsh Labour Party that embraces Independence will always remain competitive. What IS certain is that TC wants us all to live under a PERMANENT Tory tyranny from afar for evermore when there is an inconvenient statistical fact staring him in the face which is that the Welsh electorate has NEVER in the history of all elections… Read more »

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

I wouldn’t rule out a growth in Lib Dem support if/when Scotland leave us to deal with England on our own, for whatever reason PC just aren’t gaining voters

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

Due to Clegg in 2010, I still haven’t forgiven the Lib Dems as none but one, and that was our Jane Dodds, have condemned their facilitation of a majority Tory Government when they didn’t have a majority but I think we can rely on the swing this way and that party to make a contribution here as long as they accept Welsh autonomy too and they may just help us reduce Tories to a handful of seats where the other Britnat anti Welsh parties used to sit.

Dafydd y Garth
Dafydd y Garth
1 month ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Fi yn unig, I agree with you completely, but I think one sentence might be slightly edited to make it more precise, viz., “a Welsh Labour Party that embraced Independence would always remain competitive.” I don’t think that this process is yet far-enough advanced to justify the indicative mood instead of the conditional.
There is a small, but slowly growing number of Welsh Labour members who want political autonomy for Wales. If this eventually became mainstream Labour policy, that would be a game-set-and-match game change that would clinch independence,

Kurt C
Kurt C
1 month ago

I see the opposite via PR. Unlike removal of Mp’s at Westminster for Tory needs.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
1 month ago

RAH!

Ex Plaid member
Ex Plaid member
1 month ago

Majority 9,982 (19.9%). The imporant question to ask is why 26,160 of the fine people of Monmouth voted for him. Really asking the question and listening without judgement to the answer and then adjusting our own behaviour. We won’t (Plaid, Labour, Lib Dem, independent, etc), so he will get probably get elected again.

Dafydd y Garth
Dafydd y Garth
1 month ago

The short answer to your question is that those voters are the victims of Confrmtaion Bias based on Stockholm Syndrome. Most people enmeshed in these two phenomena are literally incorrigible. The more they are told that they are supporting the very people who consistently act against their interests, the tighter the grip of their hostilty to the truth ratchets itself up. The reasoned viewpoint is perceived as proof that their foolish prejudices are right.

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