Mark Williams, Member of Parliament for Ceredigion, has called on the Government to rethink the draft Wales Bill to ensure that Wales gets a clear and coherent political settlement.
Mark raised his concerns about the state of the draft Wales Bill with the Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, during the Welsh Grand Committee that took place yesterday (Wednesday 3rd February). The Bill seeks to devolve further powers to Wales, but there has been serious concern from Welsh Parliamentarians, academics and organisations that the Bill in its current form is unworkable.
Commenting on the Bill, Mark said: “While the Wales Bill is a step forward along the devolution road, it is seriously flawed in its current form. The Bill as it currently stands fails to set out a clear vision for what the future of Welsh devolution should look like.
“For Liberal Democrats the principle that underpins the Bill is subsidiarity, devolving powers to the most appropriate level. On that basis, how can it be appropriate that under this Bill that laws on driving instruction, pedestrian crossings, fire safety, licensing for entertainment and light night refreshments, and a plethora of other issues, should remain within the remit of the London Government? The Secretary of State has reassured us that this Bill is a draft. We need a substantially different Bill.
“The process for drafting the Bill leaves a lot to be desired also, with interaction between the UK Government and the Welsh Assembly being particularly poor. Undoubtedly many of the current issues, whether it is the huge number of powers which have been reserved to London or the serious issue of legal challenges at the Supreme Court to decide whether the Assembly has a right to legislate on certain matters, could have been resolved if the drafting process had been more inclusive.
“I was glad to hear some positive noise from the Wales Secretary about taking on the concerns that have been put to him, and I hope that the Bill will be redrafted to ensure that Wales gets the best settlement possible.”