Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Devolution release 2.2

Just as Carwyn Jones and Labour have come around to the view that Wales ought to have the responsibility for police and prisons incorporated in the devolution settlement that Welsh Liberal Democrats called for from the outset, some of our supporters are looking at the way that police and crime commissioners are working and having second thoughts.

Meanwhile, on "Sunday Supplement" this week, Laura McAllister called for the Welsh general election voting system to revert to its original rules, whereby candidates may stand both in a constituency and on a regional list, as is the case in Scotland. Her reasoning was that Wales can ill afford to lose AMs of quality through forcing candidates to gamble which method to plump for. She may have been thinking of the losses of Helen Mary Jones of Plaid and Nick Bourne, the former Conservative leader in the Assembly in the last election.

She is surely right, but she does not go far enough. The AM pool is not large enough to service all the work that needs to be done in Cardiff Bay, let alone provide the quality necessary for ministers, without case-work suffering. An expansion to 80 members all elected under the same fair voting system, as proposed by Richards, is needed.

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