.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How many Welsh Assembly Members?

Work published today by the  Electoral Reform Society and the UK's Changing Union project on the size of the Welsh Assembly has produced some good evidence in terms of comparisons with other bodies to support their contention that there should be an increase in the number of AMs from 60 to 100.

It is certainly the case that the increasing workload for Assembly Members means that the quality of scrutiny of both Ministers and of legislation is under threat simply because there are not enough hours in the day. However, an increase to 100 AMs is more than anybody I have spoken to, who understands those pressures, might aim for.

The Assembly siambr itself has the capacity to be extended to accomodate another 20 AMs,and indeed a figure of 80 members was the ambition of the Richard Commission, set up previously to look at this issue in some detail.

At the end of the day however, we can only implement what the public will tolerate. Even with a reduction in the number of MPs and Councillors, I would have difficulty making the case in the present economic climate for even an additional 20 AMs.

This is a campaign that is going to have to wait whilst we concentrate on other matters such as the economy, health, cost of living pressures and education. Those are my priorities as they are those of the people who elect me.
Is it possible for an AM to argue that they don't have enough time to scrutinise when they are also a County Councillor?
Yes but I am not arguing that I do not have time to scrutinise. I am saying that there is not ebough time for committees to meet in to scrutinise because they are trying to do too much at the same time.
Why not increase the number of AMs to 70 and decrease the number of Welsh MPs to 30. That way the number of Welsh politicians remain at 100, plus AMs cost cheaper than MPs.
But there isn't a reasoned case for 80 (rather than 76 or 83, say) in Richard, is there? It's another arbitrary number.
80 isn't completely arbitrary. It's the number of current Westminster constituencies X 2. It would allow for the STV election of two AMs in each constituency and if I recall correctly derives from the Richard Commission.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?