Hain's legislative muddle
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Peter Hain visits the Senedd today for the first time. He's there to explain the ramifications of the Queen's speech for Wales. I'm watching the action unfold at the moment. (You can join the fun, HERE.) The Secretary of State has spoken, and he's now being cross-examined by leaders of the opposition parties. The overall feeling is... confusion.
The next Welsh Assembly Government will have new powers, as detailed in the Government of Wales Act. The only problem is nobody seems to know quite what they are and if Westminster will be able to block them.
Hain suggested earlier this month that Welsh Labour MPs would block Proportional Representation during the pre-legislative stages at Westminster, if an Assembly Government ever voted for it. He was pressed on this by Ieuan Wyn Jones and Nick Bourne, but his only response was that he didn't think PR would ever get through. He didn't say whether or not he'd use his powers to block it.
Under the new Government of Wales Act, the Assembly can request power to legislate on a range of issues, but Westminster reserves the right to veto this. In essence, a non-Labour led coalition could come to power in the elections next May and find their legislative programme consistently thrown out by the UK Labour Government.
Confusion? Cop out? Or just the usual course of Welsh Assembly politics?
posted by Blamerbell @ 3:42 pm,