Debate on Welsh language standards

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Education Minister Leighton Andrews has defended the role and independence of the Welsh language commissioner, following his decision to reject her proposed Welsh language standards last month.

He explained the reasons behind his decision during a debate in plenary on 5 March 2013.

Mr Andrews outlined a number of concerns about the commissioners' standards, explaining that some were confusing, going beyond the remit of the measure, and had the potential to mislead the public.

He emphasised that he hadn't taken the decision lightly.

"My decision does not undermine the role of the commissioner; indeed it confirms the independence of the commissioner from government.

"She remains a champion of the language, independent from government, particularly with regard to her regulatory role."

The minister also said that he would publish a timetable for the implementation of the new standards, with the aim of having them in place by the end of 2014.

Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas said that it was clear that communication between the government and the commissioner's office had been "weak" and it wasn't "clear who was doing what."

"I accept that the commissioner is independent and that the commissioner doesn't have to listen to the government.

"But it is also true to say if someone tells you more than once that this is how they would expect to see something done in order to facilitate the legislative process that follows that, then it would be wise to pay some attention to those comments."

The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives questioned the length of time it is taking to introduce the standards.

Conservative AM Suzy Davies asked what preparatory work the minister and his department had undertaken since passing the Welsh language measure in 2011.

Closing the debate, the minister emphasised that he expected his officials and the commissioner's officials to work together in the future.

Darllenwch hwn yn Gymraeg

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