Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Referendum question
According to legal advice circulated to all Assembly Members, if that happens then it is almost certain that a referendum will not be held within the timescale envisaged by the One Wales Agreement. That advice suggests that:
overall, the approximate interval between an Assembly resolution and the holding of a referendum would be about 8 to 9 months. This coincides with the view of the All Wales Convention that:
“The process for calling and holding a referendum takes approximately nine months in total.” (Paragraph 5.2.3 of the Convention’s report) However, this estimate has to be modified by reference to two factors:
- the scope which there would undoubtedly be for abridging some elements of the time-table (for example by holding a public consultation on the Order which lasted for less than 3 months and/or by reducing the time between laying a draft Order and its consideration by Commons and Lords) but, on the other hand;
- the impact of the dissolution of Parliament – which must take place no later than 10 May 2010.
Plaid Cymru are very annoyed and behind the scenes are pointing out that their votes are needed to elect the new First Minister. Some Labour members have thrown fat on the fire by underlining that their priority is not a referendum.
No doubt everything will calm down in due course and the One Wales Government will continue as before. However, the possibility of a minority Labour Government hobbling on alone until 2011 is very real and can still not be ruled out. Many in Plaid Cymru must now be regretting the decision they took in 2007 to throw their lot in with Labour.
Peter Hain himself has said if those “nasty” Tories come to power at Westminster then he would certainly favour full lawmaking powers in Cardiff. So its pretty obvious what this is all about,just as the fudge with the Richards commission the self-interest of Labour, proper constitutional arrangements come a poor second.
Better Labour lead a progressive minority govt than be sidetracked by the linguistic lobby/badger-killers futher.