Plaid peer claims Tories may drop election change plan

 

At the time, it was billed as a policy "to avoid a disproportionate impact on smaller political parties". But has the UK government got cold feet over plans to allow candidates for the National Assembly for Wales two bites of the electoral cherry?

Seven months ago, the UK government announced: "To avoid a disproportionate impact on smaller political parties, there will be an end to the prohibition on candidates at assembly elections standing in both a constituency and a region at the same time."

The ban was introduced by the last Labour UK government to avoid a repeat of the 2003 assembly election in Clwyd West, where the top four candidates ended up in Cardiff Bay despite three of them losing the first-past-the-post constituency election.

Welsh Secretary David Jones told MPs: "We will end the prohibition on candidates at assembly elections standing in both a constituency and a region at the same time. The Government believes that, in principle, candidates should not be barred from standing in a constituency and a region, and the current prohibition impacts disproportionally on smaller parties."

But for the last couple of weeks rumours have been circulating at Westminster that the Wales Office is rethinking this policy ahead of the publication shortly of the draft Wales Bill on the assembly's electoral arrangements.

Two MPs have approached me in the hope I could shed light on the rumours, which have also reached the House of Lords. Plaid Cymru's former leader Lord Wigley tweeted last night: "Tories to scrap plans for assembly candidates to fight seats/list 2015. Why? Tory fears Labour will reverse it post 2015. Conservatives expect to lose election?" Plaid Cymru are taking a keen interest in the issue, as lifting the ban could allow Lord Wigley's successor-but-two Leanne Wood to fulfil her promise of standing in her home constituency while using the safety net offered by regional lists.

Over to the Wales Office then, where a political source chooses their words carefully: "We have said we would lift the ban. It is still our intention [my itallics] to do so". The reduction in certainty between those two sentences almost suggests what we hacks refer to as "a non-denial denial". We should find out for sure when that draft Wales Bill is published "later in the year".

 
David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 69.

    @64 "So no more WM schools everything in English.Now that's a form of ethnic cleansing."

    Not one single person asks for this Ieuan....but you trot it out because you cannot argue logically against those people simply asking for freedom of choice. You; free to have your children educated in Welsh Medium only, us in English only. Nothing sinister or unreasonable in that.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 67.

    One thing that I notice about this forum is the character of the Culture and Langauge Nationalists that inhabit it. If I was to name one trait that stands out it would be sneering arrogance, this coupled inevitably with a habit of "putting down" anyone who disagrees with them.

    Ultimately you can guarantee that they will, with complete certainty, declare that the opposition is all one person!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 68.

    DC What English speaking people of Wales need to do to get a vice on BBC Wales? Huge issues are happening as in more devolution and forced Welsh language in primary education, public jobs for Welsh speakers only etc but the majority is silenced by the Welsh media We need democracy and transparency in Wales and perhaps BBC will find the courage to change and bring back democracy to Wales!?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 74.

    ... many nationalists have claimed that "tax raising powers" should not be preceded by a referendum, it should be dealt with exclusively by the Assembly, of course we know that decisions made at the Assembly are agreed outwith the hallowed corridors of Cardiff Bay, e.g. IWA.

    The referendum offered will probably be the anchor or brake on devolution, give time for Carwyn and chums to make good.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 76.

    Now the BBC shows it true colours. A poster on this forum hints that people who dont agree with his views should leave, I point it out and I my post gets removed, Lets be clear, the BBC is the unquestioning mouth piece of the Dear Leader. You only had to see the fawning garbage trotted out last night,

 

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