Sunday, February 24, 2008
Key One Wales pledge to be ditched?
In an interview with the Wales on Sunday, Mr. Murphy said he did not think the referendum would take place by 2011:
His comments are bound to infuriate Plaid supporters who regard the commitment as central to the agreement.
Mr Murphy said: “The argument was there’s no point in going for a referendum on powers unless you think there’s some appetite for it out there.
“Only when that concludes its examination – I don’t know how long it will take, but it’s got to be a proper one – only then can we have a good idea.
“I probably share Peter Hain’s view that I don’t think that process is likely to be completed by 2011.
“There’s no point in going through the whole process, which is extremely expensive anyway, unless there’s some view that it’s going to actually happen in terms of the outcome.”
Mr Murphy accepted the commitment was key in Plaid electing to join Labour rather than a ‘rainbow coalition’ with the Tories and Lib Dems.
He said: “It’s part of the negotiations which led up to the formation of the coalition, it’s politics, that’s what goes on.”The possibility that a referendum would be delivered by 2011 was of course a major factor in Plaid Cymru's decision to ditch the rainbow coalition and sign up with Labour. It is likely that they are too committed to that agreement to change course now but I suspect that this will not stop many nationalists expressing their discontent both privately and publicly at the way they have been taken for a ride by their partners
This is especially so when the Secretary of State also starts speculating on possible alternative coalitions. The message is clear, Labour believe that they have Plaid over a barrel and they are making sure that we understand that as well.