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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Has Wales Office lost the plot?

Since the Welsh Assembly secured full law making powers in 2011, we have passed just two bills and both look like being challenged by the UK Government.

I am beginning to fear for my own private members bill, which was sent to the Presiding Officer on Monday to determine whether it falls within the Assembly's competence to determine. Does the Secretary of State for Wales have a problem with us legislating to regulate Park Homes?

The Supreme Court is meeting as I write to consider the UK Government's challenge to the rather esoteric Local Government By-Laws Bill. They object to the fact that we are taking away from the Secretary of State for Wales the ability to approve by-laws, something he has not done for over a decade.

Now, the Wales Office has referred concerns over the Official Languages Bill, which was passed last week, to the Attorney General for England and Wales, Dominic Grieve, to determine whether it goes beyond the Assembly’s powers.

The Bill says that Welsh and English have equal status as languages within the Assembly however, although the Wales Office accepts that we can legislate with regard to the Welsh language, they say we are not able to do so on English. It is almost as if devolution never happened.

Thus the self-evident fact that we are able to conduct proceedings in English cannot, according to the Wales Office, be incorporated in an Act of the Assembly. How absurd is that?

Whatever the legal niceties, and our legal advice is that reference to the English language is incidental to the provision the bill makes in relation to Welsh, politically this is a rather bizarre fight to pick.

We will have to see if commonsense prevails once the Attorney General and his political masters start to consider the matter.
It is not a matter of "legal niceties" but a requirement for necessary precision to be in applied so that future third-party challenges regarding competence can be resisted. Basic stuff really and the fact that the Assembly thinks it can brush over such inconveniences does not bode well for the abilities of a Welsh legislature.
Actually, I think we have acted with necessary precision. The UK Government are being bloody minded on the Official Languages Bill
I am sure that you will be able to express your opinion, along with your own extensive legal qualifications plus points of relevant case law and precedent, at the appropriate hearings.
actually, I think it's simply bloody minded jealousy on the part of virtually redundant MPs attempting to show whose power is greatest.
Bad show, butt out,, big L for loser. Polls show that Cardiff is where the populace see and want the future influence on Wales as residing.
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