Wales politics

Draft Wales Bill 'worst' attempt to sort out Wales' powers

Lord Elis-Thomas
Image caption Lord Elis-Thomas says the draft bill cannot be improved and it is time to start again

A former assembly presiding officer has called a proposed new devolution system the "worst" attempt to re-write Wales' constitution in his time in politics.

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said UK ministers' draft Wales Bill made it less clear what was and was not devolved than was currently the case.

The Plaid Cymru AM told the Western Mail the bill was so bad that it was time to go "back to the drawing board".

A Wales Office source said "nationalist parties" could never be satisfied.

More say over energy, transport and assembly elections are among the proposals in the draft bill, published in October.

Lord Elis-Thomas, a former leader of Plaid Cymru, became the assembly's first presiding officer in 1999.

"Of the five attempts to re-write the constitution of Wales in my time in public life, going back to 1978, this is the worst," he said.

"The law is less clear than it was before, and not just the law is less clear - what politicians can do [is less clear]."

A Wales Office source said Lord Elis-Thomas's comments were "surprising" as the draft bill "delivers many of the powers he personally has campaigned for throughout his public life".

"The draft Wales Bill will build a stronger Wales within a strong United Kingdom but it will not create a pathway to independence," the source said.

"To that end it will never satisfy those nationalist parties, like Plaid Cymru."

On Monday, First Minister Carwyn Jones warned MPs that every future piece of Welsh legislation could end up in the Supreme Court if proposals are enacted.

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