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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The future of devolution

The new Secretary of State for Wales told us yesterday that cutting the number of Welsh MPs to reflect the post-devolution age would be “bonkers”. It is a point of view I suppose and certainly one that will continue to secure Mr.Murphy the support of other Welsh Labour MPs.

However, how realistic is such a stance in a future Wales which has a law-making Parliament of equal stature to that of Scotland's? Why do we need so many politicians when AMs will be able to pass domestic laws currently debated and voted on by MPs?

In Scotland it was accepted that the role of their MPs had been changed significantly by the creation of a Scottish Parliament and as a result they cut the number of politicians they send to Westminster. It is my view that we will have to make a similar choice.

If we are to go into a referendum campaign asking the people of Wales to approve full-law making powers for the Welsh Assembly then we will need an answer to the question of what will happen to our present MPs. It will not be good enough to pretend that we can maintain some form of status quo when Scotland has taken another route. To attempt to do so will undermine the credibility of any 'yes' campaign.

Paul Murphy can give reassurances to his colleagues for now but there will come a time when he has to face up to the reality of further devolution, then we will see who is on which side.
Reducing Welsh MP's will not answer
the west lothian question, even if Wales sent only 1 MP,that MP might have the deciding vote on English affairs.
I suggest scrapping the lords in favour of a new elected british parliament to sit in that chamber.
An equal number of MP's from Wales Scotland Northern Ireland and England (regardless of population).
The Australian senate has equal numbers of senators to make sure the most populous states do not rule the roost.
The house of commons can then be the English Parliament. With devolution to England's shires and counties it is to be hoped that English MP's can be cut by half at least.
Bonkers is this new political speak
But wouldn’t this mean MPs would have so many constituents that it would be impossible for them to give equal time to their constituents compared to MPs with much smaller numbers of constituents? How about maintaining the same ratio of constituents to MPs in the lower house (Parliament) but in the Upper House (House of Lords) there could be elected Senators modeled on the Australian Senate or the US Senate; at least this proposed system would be a vast improvement over the current unelected British Lords system which is so inherently undemocratic that it is laughable when the UK government seeks to offer advice to other undemocratic countries on democracy like clunker “PM” Gordon Brown just did (re: Pakistan). It goes without saying that the British PM is not directly elected by the people – members of the Upper House are appointed, not elected by the people.
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