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Peace in our time

Betsan Powys | 16:45 UK time, Friday, 5 February 2010

On Tuesday, the trigger will be pulled. The Assembly Government will get at least the forty votes it needs to start the formal process towards a referendum on further powers.

You'll recall the cause of the standoff - opposition parties demanding an assurance that the referendum day would not coincide with the Assembly elections on May 5, 2011, the government steadfastly refusing to give it.

But with both opposition parties fully in favour of the referendum, staring down the barrel of being labelled devolution-wreckers, and the new administration of Carwyn Jones fearing the shattering blow of calling the vote and losing it....the situation resembled the climactic scene of Reservoir Dogs, with everyone pointing a gun at everyone else.

Calm heads have prevailed tonight. The First Minister has acknowledged the difficulties in having a referendum on the same day as the Assembly elections, and the strength of feeling on all sides of the chamber. He'll move to accommodate these, and pledge to move forward on an all party basis.

Words are being chosen carefully, but they're enough. Notice that May 5 2011 isn't categorically ruled out, but at the same time, both opposition parties will feel their point has been amply made.

The Conservatives have issued a statement welcoming it, here in Swansea, the Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams will be breathing a private sigh of relief and a wearing a small smile of satisfaction, I suspect.

Peace in our time.


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