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Saturday, June 11, 2005

The power of veto

I see that New Labour have once more allowed their fear of the electorate to overcome any principles they might have once had regarding devolution. The Western Mail this morning reports that Tony Blair and John Prescott personally vetoed giving the National Assembly the power to make its own laws.

Instead, a government White Paper likely to be published next Thursday will propose a "fast track" system under which legislation proposed by the Assembly would be subject to approval by the Secretary of State for Wales and by both Houses of Parliament. While the hope would be that proposed laws would be "nodded through", Westminster would retain a right of veto.

Sources have told us that both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister were of the opinion that a referendum on further powers for the Assembly should not be held. Their minds were made up after the heavy defeat of the proposed assembly for north east England in a referendum last November.

Plaid Cymru's Assembly Opposition leader Ieuan Wyn Jones is quite right when he says that, "Even with some fast-track procedure, the Assembly will still be at the beck and call of Westminster, and entirely dependent on the whim of the Secretary of State and the Government. If the Assembly wants to diverge from the policy line of Westminster, it's likely to be forbidden from doing so."

Labour are constantly boasting that devolution would not have been possible without them. That may be true but what they have given us is a hybrid with insufficient powers. The present arrangements are not a solution but a staging post and if Labour are not prepared to allow us to move forward then they will also be responsible for strangling the project altogether.
Do you still stand by your earlier comments that you will not enter into coalition with the other opposition parties Peter??
Once again I would be grateful if you could try and stay on topic when commenting Martyn. There are other recent posts where this question would better sit.

What I believe I said was "If such a proposal came forward I would argue against it within my group and within my party." That is still my position. Why would I have changed my mind?
i have always been dubious about the progression of devolution in the hands of labour.

yes, before i some ones says it, they did do the initiall referendum to create the assembly.

however, it strikes me as odd that they would want to seperate wales and england as wales have consistenly returned labour MPs in the majority of the constituencies.

why would any political party in that position erode their own support in such a mannor?
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