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Betsan Powys | 22:16 UK time, Thursday, 1 July 2010

We saw this coming and now, it looks as though the official confirmation is on its way over the next few days. The coalition government in Westminster intends to hold the referendum on reforming the electoral system on the first Thursday in May - the same day as the Assembly election and local elections in England.

Two questions: how much sense does it make to hold a referendum on changing the voting system for one institution on exactly the same day as voters choose who gets to sit in another?

And who was it who was prepared to vote against holding a referendum on further powers - one they supported wholeheartedly - IF there was any danger it was held on the same day as rhe Assembly election?

Mind you, let's consider one other question while we're at it. Won't it be quite tough to argue for paying to hold three votes in Wales within three months?

Funnily enough the Lib Dems and Conservatives are proving hard to pin down for the morning interviews.


It sounds as though the possibility of moving the Assembly Election to June was discussed at the last meeting of party leaders in Cardiff Bay. (There may be a clash there too if there's a snap General Election after a lost referendum of course ... but ...)

Moving the Assembly election to June would be Labour and Plaid Cymru's preferred option, I'm told - "because after all we believe the Assembly election to be rather important" said a source, too important to conflate with a referendum on changing the voting system to another institution. But it would be much easier to make that happen, of course, if all four Welsh party leaders support the idea.

Nick Bourne "made sympathetic noises" then says a source and this morning the Tory leader has made clear that he wrote a few days ago to his fellow leaders "seeking their support for the Assembly elections to be delayed for a month because of the likely Assembly powers referendum campaign".

Different referendum, same outcome.

He's urged Carwyn Jones to make the request to the Secretary of State urgently, before any money is wasted on preparing for a May election.

The suggestion from the Labour camp is that the First Minister will raise it but with Downing Street, rather than Gwydyr House, thank you very much.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have told BBC Wales they don't intend to respond until an announcement is made officially.


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