Wales politics

Health minister Hart drops organ donation request

Edwina Hart
Image caption Health minister Edwina Hart expects the next assembly to legislate on organ donation

The assembly government has withdrawn a request to the UK government for permission to introduce presumed consent for organ donation.

Health Minister Edwina Hart told AMs it followed the referendum result in favour of direct law making powers.

She said the public vote meant there was no longer any need for a legislative competence order [LCO].

Mrs Hart said in the light of cross-party support she expected the next assembly to pass the legislation.

In January, the Attorney General Dominic Grieve raised concerns about the minister's request to acquire powers for the assembly to introduce an opt-out system for organ donation in Wales.

Mrs Hart then said she received a last-minute email expressing UK government concerns over whether the plan was compatible with the Human Rights Act.

Addressing AMs in the Senedd on Thursday, she said: "The referendum result has paved the way for a future Welsh Assembly Government to introduce an Assembly Bill, with appropriate legislative scrutiny taking place here in the assembly.

"In that event, presiding officer, it will be for you to decide whether or not in your view an assembly government-proposed Bill is within the assembly's legislative competence.

"The assembly government's clear view is that, given the wording of Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act, the assembly would have the power to pass an Act about organ donation."

For the Liberal Democrats, Veronica German welcomed the Minister's decision to withdraw the LCO, which is the only one that needed to be withdrawn following the referendum.

"We certainly look forward to an early Bill on this matter in the next assembly session, whatever the make-up of this place," said Mrs German.

She said the question of what the attorney general's objections to the LCO had been were still "a mystery" to her.

Mrs Hart said there had been broad support across party boundaries for the legislation and said it was essential AMs "put a marker down that we do expect this legislation to proceed".

Plaid Cymru AM Dai Lloyd said the withdrawal of the LCO was "great news" and the assembly would no longer have to go "cap in hand" to Westminster for permission to make law.

He said: "It boils down to the fact that we've no need ever again for LCOs. This place is now a Parliament, a Senedd."

More on this story