Opinion

Why are Labour and Plaid doing a deal? A bigger Senedd could be on the way

14 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
Adam Price picture by Plaid Cymru. Mark Drakeford picture by CPMR – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Ifan Morgan Jones

My first reaction to the talk of a co-operation agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government is that I hope the Boundary Commission aren’t too exhausted after their work redrawing Wales’ Westminster boundaries.

Why might Welsh Labour need such an agreement when a deal with the Liberal Democrats’ one Senedd Member would give them a simple majority in the Senedd?

Well, it might be because legislation to reform the Senedd will require a 40 Member supermajority. Labour currently have 30.

Both Labour and Plaid Cymru are keen on a larger Senedd with an increase in the number of members to 90 or even 100.

This was thought to be quite a risky move before the Senedd election, with the threat of a devo-sceptic Conservative party or even Abolish the Assembly making major strides.

But the election was instead seen as a seal of approval to devolution – voters gave Labour’s handling of Covid the thumbs up and vanquished Abolish the Assembly altogether.

Between devolution’s renewed mandate and Labour and Plaid Cymru having 43 of the Senedd’s 60 seats between them they could essentially introduce whatever reforms they like.

The main sticking point is likely to be how proportional the Senedd is. There has been some talk of Single Transferable Vote, but with Labour winning half the seat with less than 40% of the vote, how proportional will they want it really?

Autonomy

Another factor that may have made Plaid Cymru more amenable to cooperation with Labour is that devolution is clearly under threat from the ‘muscular unionism’ of Westminster’s Conservative government.

By joining up, as the Greens and SNP have done at Holyrood, Plaid and Labour also send a message that electorally Wales stands united in support of devolution.

It might also give small ‘n’ nationalist Welsh Labour Senedd Members cover to demonstrate the kind of autonomy they have shown on Covid on other issues but which their own Westminster colleagues could be less keen on. The Welsh Government’s constitutional minister himself last week called Labour ‘too London-centric’.

On much else, the two parties are broadly aligned. Both want to do more to tackle climate change. Both want to invest in Wales’ creaking infrastructure. Both have an interest in local government reform.

In that sense, many of Plaid’s suggestions could well be pushing at an open door – or perhaps Welsh Labour are simply using Plaid Cymru to keep that door propped open.

But I suspect that the first order of business is that Mark Drakeford will turn to Adam Price and, like Captain Quint faced with Boris Johnson’s great white shark chomping away at devolution, say: ‘We’re gonna need a bigger Senedd.’

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Grayham Jones
13 days ago

It’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 A Free Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 welsh people must stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh welsh people got to think of their children and grandchildren future wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 is they future not being little Englanders

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
13 days ago

THIS is exactly what we need. Thank heavens and the big red D that there is at least some kind of resistance forming to the disgusting attack on Democracy by the Tory Mafia. Its time for Cymru to unite to save us from becoming a Shire for the English to doss about in and exploit. Time to purge ourselves of the insular thinking of English toffs, so we can take or multi-ethnic Wales and form it into a multiethnic Cymru that is both welcoming to other cultures and peoples but also has an eye on maintaining and rediscovering what it… Read more »

Welsh_Sion
Welsh_Sion
13 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

The National Assembly (as was) was formed expressly with the idea of co-operation between parties, for the good of Wales: er budd Cymru. There was anticipation of ‘a new style of politics’ from the jaded Punch and Judy show of Westminster and a clear intention that we in Cymru can and where appropriate, should) do things differently. It is to be hoped that the threats to our young democracy have been realised by Drakeford, Price and others who are sufficiently persuaded that we must stand up NOW against the tyranny of Johnson and his Westminster cronies. It will also be… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Welsh_Sion
Garan Sumner
Garan Sumner
13 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

multi-ethnic Wales

In what way is Wales “multi-ethnic” in comparison to any other nation in the UK?

…and weren’t you the one making the comments on here about the Prophet Muhammad?

Mathew Rees
Mathew Rees
13 days ago
Reply to  Garan Sumner

Please explain what Islam has to do with race. I’ll wait.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
13 days ago

A very sensible idea.

Richard
Richard
13 days ago

Just seems a sensible move to take up thr slack of ‘loosing ‘ 8 MPs and the 4 MEPs Wales had…🤔

Alun
Alun
13 days ago
Reply to  Richard

Yes. With the loss of MPs on the way, there has never been a better time to act on expanding the Senedd.

Robin Hill
Robin Hill
13 days ago

They should tie in the Greens also and the contest the next General Election collaboratively to optimise the anti-Tory vote. There os more unites than divides them in that.

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
13 days ago
Reply to  Robin Hill

I wholehearedly agree. Safety in numbers. Ie Cymru!

Gareth
Gareth
13 days ago
Reply to  Robin Hill

Ha, you think Labour would be up for that do you?
Labour had the chance in 2019 but bottled it. PC, LD and Greens put their money where their mouth was and stood down in seats in favour of the others. Labour? Nah they did their own thing.

Rob
Rob
4 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Jeremy Corbyn had his own agenda at the last election. He knew he was never going to be Prime Minister neither has he ever been a supporter of EU membership. For him, he wanted Brexit to happen, but was happy for the Tories to get the blame for the mess its causing.
I live in hope that Labour under Starmer will agree to an anti-tory alliance, however I suspect that the Lexiteers and the hard left led by the likes of George Galloway will do what they can to scupper it, especially if it involves the SNP.

Rob
Rob
12 days ago

The Northern Ireland Assembly has 90 members for a country of just under 2 million. Wales has just over 3 million yet the Senedd only has 60 members.

Last edited 12 days ago by Rob

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