Veto or not veto?

Things are hotting up in Cardiff Bay. You could poach an egg with the steam rising from Peter Black's cranked up assault on his own party's leadership. And elsewhere, there are mutterings and counter-mutterings about what sort of shape the next Government of Wales might take. My confident prediction is pear.

Anyway, before we get on to all that, there's a loose end to tidy up. This weekend, I posted on the practical inevitability of a referendum on conferring further legislative powers on the assembly. But there's been some debate in the comments (and also on other blogs) about whether the Welsh Secretary, currently Peter Hain, could veto such a move.

This is what the Government of Wales Act has to say about it:

(3) The Secretary of State must, within the period of 120 days beginning
immediately after the day on which [the referedum request, section 103(1)] is received—
(a) lay a draft of a statutory instrument containing an Order in Council
under section 103(1) before each House of Parliament, or
(b) give notice in writing to the First Minister of the Secretary of State’s
refusal to do so and the reasons for that refusal
.

The answer is emphatically, yes!

Let's say, hypothetically, a Plaid-Tory-Lib Dem coalition takes power. After miraculously winning a two thirds majority vote in the Senedd, Ieuan Wyn Jones, as first minister, activates section 103(1) of the act requesting a referendum. It is, you'll recall, a manifesto commitment for Plaid as it is for the Lib Dems. And yet the Secretary of State still has the statutory footing to kick it into touch.

Of course, the most obvious reason to do so would be that the proposition failed to jump through one of the myriad legislative hoops set out in the act. But with a brand spanking new Counsel General waiting in the wings to advise the new executive, that would be unlikely.

If Peter Hain were to use the veto, then, it would cause an almighty stir.

This may be fantasy politics, but it does point to a potentially sticky situation in which the collective will of the elected representatives of Wales is quashed by one man in Westminster. If he wouldn't use it, why is it there?

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posted by Blamerbell @ 12:50 am,

25 Comments:

At 1:16 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blamerbell Briefs said:
"This may be fantasy politics, but it does point to a potentially sticky situation in which the collective will of the elected representatives of Wales is quashed by one man in Westminster. If he wouldn't use it, why is it there?"

There are times in history an opportunity presents itself and our representatives should approach this with courage.

It's time for that Rainbow coalition now.

 
At 1:35 am, Blogger Geraint said...

Same old Tories in Plaid, Lib Dems and obviously the Tories using this and everything else and an excuse to get their grubby hands on power, since they know that Labour will thankfully never let the Tories back into power with a coaltion, Plaid hasn't ruled it out, and certain elements in the Lib Dems definitly want it.

As for the power, it is there just to please MPs, however it would be political suicide for whichever party that was in government to veto it (are people forgetting there is an election in 2009/10 which is actually too close to call? Although a 4th term Labour victory would be great)

Also who said Hain would be Sectertary State for Wales after June the 27th, the new Prime Minister could either move him, kick him out of cabinet or have him as his new deputy PM.

 
At 10:07 am, Blogger Martin Davies said...

A Plaid/Tory/Lib Dem coalition would be more representative of the election result than a minority Labour administration.

Irrespective of whether Peter Hain is still Secretary of State for Wales once Brown has been foisted on us, the fact that the veto exists in the Act tells you everything you need to know about Westminster's true attitude towards the Assembly.

What about the notion of an administration run by David Cameron being in power in Westminster during the term of this Assembly? If you want to engage in fantasy, what about Cameron giving John Redwood his old job back?

 
At 10:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any body know if the Assembly has right to appeal if an Order is refused?

 
At 10:49 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Apparently not:

(4) As soon as is reasonably practicable after the First Minister receives notice
given under subsection (3)(b)—
(a) the First Minister must lay a copy of the notice before the Assembly,
and
(b) the Assembly must ensure that the notice is published.

 
At 11:45 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geraint said...
"Same old Tories in Plaid, Lib Dems and obviously the Tories using this and everything else and an excuse to get their grubby hands on power, "

So, what do you think New Labour is? Why has it sacrified so many socialist issues?

 
At 12:13 pm, Anonymous Keith Floyd said...

Blamerbell said:
"You could poach an egg with the steam rising from Peter Black's cranked up assault on his own party's leadership."

I don't think you can poach an egg by steaming it - it should be cracked into a whirling pan of boiling water.

 
At 12:18 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

I was waiting for someone to bring that up!

You could gather the steam in a bowl and then poach the egg in that. If it's ok with you, Peter...

 
At 12:59 pm, Blogger bethan said...

the issue isn't about Hain, it's about what a Secretary of State can do under such circumstances.

As I have said on my blog, it would be interesting to see if there was a different Gov in Westminster to cardiff Bay, and how the veto could be used as a way of stopping legislation unfavourable to the Westminster Governmet.

We need to campaign for a referendum to take place before 2011 so that this legislation is kicked in to touch. People say that a Sec of Sate would not use the veto, but I am not so sure.

 
At 1:27 pm, Blogger Ted Jones said...

The contradictions of Peter Hain are glaring. On the one hand he celebrates relinquishing power over Northern Ireland, yet in Wales acts as a de facto Governor General.

Hain's gerrymandering just shows that the Labour party don't trust the people of Wales, and partly explains why the people of Wales increasingly don't trust Labour.

 
At 2:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Putting an egg in the water isn't poaching - it's coddling!

Shame on parties wanting to get their hands on power. Obviously they should have stood in the election strictly on a platform of NOT wanting power and leaving government to the establishment in the Labour party. After all Labour is the only party that can govern - that's the law isn't it?

 
At 2:56 pm, Blogger NewWelshRight said...

I quote Peter Mandelson, architect of New Labour, who said "We are all Thatcherites now".

Wales lags behind because we are ruled still by Old Labour, who like one-size-fits-all education policy and whose view of health care is that you should count yourself very fortunate to see a doctor even if you have contributed 10% of your life's income to the health service "because there are always people less fortunate than yourself blah blah blah blah something about miners blah blah blah Tory misrule blah blah".

I don't trust Plaid either though. The LibDems seem harmless enough if you can make them shut up about PR for five minutes. Bugger your rainbows, let Labour hang itself.

 
At 2:59 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon said:
"Shame on parties wanting to get their hands on power. Obviously they should have stood in the election strictly on a platform of NOT wanting power and leaving government to the establishment in the Labour party. After all Labour is the only party that can govern - that's the law isn't it? "

lol there have been moments it has seemed like that! the election was called by Labour, run by Labour, the naughty people did not behave well this time and stole votes from Labour, but never mind, they'll return home next time.
At the Assembly, some Labour had it cut and dried who was doing what. No problem, the little children had to listen or they would be punished or called arrogant. Then some blogs allowed the naughty people to say unspeakable things that should not be heard in public. Truth they called it. Labour can't live with truth. Labour complained, showed themselves up as control freaks.

So let's hope this election has let some fresh air into the Assembly, at last.

 
At 5:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New "Labour" is arrogant and not as socialist as I would personally like to see it, however it is still social democratic enough to be bareable, and it has achieved a fair bit, domestically, not enough, but still a fair bit in terms of the minimum wage, equal rights, banning the vile...cruelity of fox hunting, however it could and should have done more.

However the Assembly election clearly doesn't show the want for a Rainbow coalition, they do not want a minority Labour government either, and I don't think we should have one, I would prefer to see a Labour-Plaid one, or a Lib-Lab one. However I definitly don't think the Welsh people want the Tories back in power, not the majority, and I don't think they would punish the Lib Dems and Plaid if a rainbow coalition happend in the 2011 elections. (although prehapes letting Plaid and the Lib Dems hang themselves would be good)

 
At 5:29 pm, Blogger Marcusian said...

Martin,

"A Plaid/Tory/Lib Dem coalition would be more representative of the election result than a minority Labour administration".

Rubbish, you know it!

Plaid/Tory/Lib Dems all have massive principled differences with each other. Are you telling me people would want a government that is run by one side who want independence and one side who dont want anymore powers devolved?

I am sorry, but can you tell me all the people who voted Plaid voted because they want to be in government with the tories who opposed ANY form of independence? and vice versa the tories? Why do you think Iueann Whinge was so keen to say he wouldnt work under the tories, because it would totally undermine any socialist aspirations his party are now all of sudden undertaking.

You are taking your opinion on a distorted view of purely numerical terms.

 
At 5:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What makes you think Peter Hain will still be Welsh Secretary?

What makes you think that Peter Hain would even be in a Gordon Brown Cabinet??

 
At 5:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
", however it is still social democratic enough to be bareable, and it has achieved a fair bit, domestically, not enough, but still a fair bit in terms of the minimum wage, equal rights, banning the vile...cruelity of fox hunting, however it could and should have done more. "

How convenient to forget everything else it achieved. You have to be very rich, very healthy, very pampered, a crook or very old not too have had been affected by New Labour policies. Or in denial.

After this last budget I dread where New Labour will go next. Most worryingly, it has achieved what every Labour government in the past has strived to improve. There is now a vast gulf between the richest and poorest in this country. The fall out from the last budget has not hit yet. Some of the poorest have had their tax burden doubled. These are people who would formerly vote old Labour and Labour wonders where their support has gone?

 
At 5:56 pm, Blogger Mike Cridland said...

Marcusian said!
"Plaid/Tory/Lib Dems all have massive principled differences with each other. Are you telling me people would want a government that is run by one side who want independence and one side who dont want anymore powers devolved?"

So do Sinn Fein and the DUP, but they seemed to put country before politics.

Wales First! Politics never!

 
At 6:29 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

Although I am not a Blairite or a New "Labour" fan, I still don't think ignoring the achievements of New "Labour" and claiming everything is terrible, is rather sad. Things are a lot better then they were under the Tories, and the poorest are better off then they were under the Tories, of course some people will never accept this, however I think that is a bit of a mistake by them myself.

I, myself, am willing to admit New "Labour's" sucesses, despite not supporting Blairism, because I feel it is good to point out things have improved since 1997, not enough, but they have improved.

Of course, it is also good to point out that PFI's and privatisation are disasters and always have been, tha the gap between the rich and poor is wider then ever, that Tony Blair's post 9/11 foriegn policy was deeply unjust and misguided, and that the Government of Wales act 2006 was very weak and a let down for Wales, just to please Welsh Labour MPs.

 
At 6:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geraint said...
" and the poorest are better off then they were under the Tories,"

New Labour created a New Poor. The poorest are given all the government support to ensure they can manage.
The next stage up, those on the egde of poverty are made to pay double taxation, and recent council tax hikes, water rates,mortgages, taxes have put them in severe poverty. No government help exists to support them.
These are mostly single people, and all on low incomes.
No Conservative government has ever done anything so dastardly.

If you paid/pay into a pension scheme start looking into if it's going to be worth anything. A lot of new pensioners are finding their pension is greatly reduced by heavy taxation. Many are not having the lump sum they expected.

All candidates heard of this worry during the hustings.

 
At 9:03 pm, Blogger dewi_o said...

For Plaid to join in a Rainbow Coallition Government would be suicidal. Can you imagine the feeling in Wales if Plaid let's the Tories have influence in Government. Plaid would be finished in part of the country for a generation. Labour would never let the people forget what Plaid would have done.

The most representative Government would be a Labour/ Plaid Coallition. Unfortunately neither party are ready for it, not even for the people of Wales.

 
At 10:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After watching Despatches tonight, is anyone else very concerned that Gordon Brown is likely to be unchallenged taking over as our Prime Minister?

Anyone wondering how the government got into this position and if Blair did not serve his full term as he wanted the country to experience some of the hell he had behind the scenes? :-o

 
At 10:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After watching Despatches tonight, is anyone else very concerned that Gordon Brown is likely to be unchallenged taking over as our Prime Minister?

Anyone wondering how the government got into this position and if Blair did not serve his full term as he wanted the country to experience some of the hell he had behind the scenes? :-o

 
At 10:20 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

I am hoping John McDonnell will get enough to get onto the ballot papers, and then pull off a victory, or at least get enough % of the vote to give the New "Labour" elite a bit of a kick up the backside.

 
At 2:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Mcdonnell, a cheerleader for that vile bunch of murdering fascist thugs also know as the 'Ra, isn't fit to be a member of a democratic party never mind it's leader. It's shameful that so many Labour MPs have backed him. Utterly shameful.

 

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