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Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Welsh way

I'm not a big fan of Lord Peter Hain's attempts at constitutional tinkering. It was his legislation that introduced the Legislative Competence Order, which crippled the Welsh Assembly's law-making ability in its third term. The LCO, as they  came to be known, had previously only been tried before when an Imperial British Government had sought to keep the Irish happy.

Hain was also responsible for restricting the ability of people to stand for both the Assembly list and a constituency at the same time, a breathtaking exercise in undermining individual rights and the sort of change I would have expected from somebody with far fewer democratic credentials.

However, his latest attempt to restrict the franchise makes perfect sense. As the Western Mail reports it comes in the guise of an amendment to the Wales Bill currently being considered by the House of Lords, and proposes that only people living in Wales can stand for the Welsh Assembly.

Such a geographical restriction already exists for other institutions, including local councils and the House of Commons and there is no reason why it should not apply to the Welsh Assembly as well. After all there is no reason why somebody who wishes to stand cannot move here so as to qualify.

And surely the least a voter should expect of their representative is that they are accessible and identify with the area they represent, not ensconced in a mansion on the other side of the border paying courtesy visits to their constituency when they feel like it.
Hamilton, although pressure should be put on him to move to Wales will more than likely keep his mansion as an insurance policy for when he is kicked out of his seat,one can hope.
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