Friday, 9 January 2009

More complication. More confusion. Another twist in the LCO saga...

So a decision has finally been made on the Affordable Housing LCO which has been causing friction between the Welsh Assembly Government and Westminster for quite some time.

Dewi Un will be pleased...actually I can be almost certain that he won't be...

What's been announced today is that in future the Welsh Assembly will have the powers to suspend right-to-buy legislation but (and it's a very big “but”) the Secretary of State for Wales will have the power of veto*.

What does this mean? It means that any resemblance this LCO has to actual powers for the WAG is purely coincidental...

Theoretically it makes little difference if the Secretary of State doesn't exercise his powers. However, while that may all be very well right now during parallel Labour administrations – matters become significantly more complicated when there's a Tory government at one end of the M4 and a Labour government at the other.

It also sets quite a precedent (which Mr Roderick is quick to point out) – what if the Secretary of State was to want a veto on the Welsh Language LCO? Or any other LCO for that matter – what's the point having an Assembly at all?

Kirsty Williams has also spoken out against the decision.

But Plaid's Jocelyn Davies has defended the move by saying that they are campaigning for a full Parliament for Wales by which time this debate will be irrelevant - but I didn't think that was in the offing for a few years yet.

So is this an insignificant technicality or a dangerous precedent?

*IMPORTANT NOTE: The Secretary of State will only have the veto on the Assembly's right to abolish right-to-buy not on it's right to suspend right-to-buy - edit by D3 10/1

Dewi Tri



Anonymous said...

The secretary of state has a veto on abolition of the right to buy, not on suspension. The assembly didn't ask for powers to abolish. The assembly has got what they asked for, without the restrictions like time limits the MPs wanted. In fact, the MPs are the ones who haven't had their own way!

Anonymous said...

I think you're wrong on one very important detail here. The Assembly government will now have the powers it asked for. The Secretary of State will only have a Veto on abolition (which the Assembly government doesn't seem to want to do).

Sounds to me like the WAG have got their way - but Murphy has thrown some sort of consulation prize to the MPs in the form of this pointless veto.

Anonymous said...

What I can't work out is how all this has taken so long. If this LCO business is taking over 2 years to complete, how can any government do what it's said it will do in its manifesto?

This has either been handled badly, or the LCO system's not fit for purpose.

Politics Cymru said...

Re: The secretary of state has a veto on abolition of the right to buy, not on suspension

Apologies for this – that's absolutely the case – it was a mistake on my part as I hurriedly wrote the blog last night.

My point was though that the secretary of state will have unprecedented control over a supposedly independent body – does that not undermine the Welsh Assembly somewhat?


Lenin Cymru said...

I'm afraid this shows how misleading BBC reporting can have a big effect on public opinion. They are slavishly following Tory and Labour Westminster politician's interpretation instead of assessing the facts.

Glad you've corrected your mistake Politics Cymru