I have now decided that my behaviour today has proven my commitment to covering Welsh politics. Whilst the majority of my peers have been (apart from those in more stable employment) sunning themselves, shopping or going to the gym I have been watching the Welsh Grand Committee on Parliament TV. Yes I know I’m the height of cool.
These hours spent watching and Twittering (granted not as often during the afternoon session) has taught me several things about the scrutiny of LCOs.
It’s well documented on this website that during my time in university I spent many a Friday morning learning about the GOWA 2006 – its scope and powers and therefore the LCO process. What I learnt today is that the members of Parliament clearly have not interpreted the Act as my lecturers had. Granted THIS LCO is a special case, however what I saw today was the process of minutiae scrutiny (and even a request to see a draft measure before passing the LCO), as opposed to a broader approach that looked purely at the legality of the LCO.
My (along with lecturers / classmates) interpretation of the GOWA is that it’s the Assembly’s role to make the measures and it’s the Welsh MPs role to transfer the powers but only if they fall within the remit of the above mentioned act. We have known for some time now that this isn’t the approach that the Welsh MPs appear to be taking, or is it?
Several times during today’s debate’s the MPs seemed confused themselves as to what exactly they were talking about, and several times some MPs had to remind others that it was not their place to discuss what would be included in a measure but instead what was included in the LCO. Confused? Some of them certainly seemed to be.
My conclusion after watching today’s proceedings:
Someone somewhere surely needs to clarify the role of the Welsh MPs with regards to LCOs.
Are they essentially scrutinising future measures and therefore looking at LCOs to do exactly what they say on the tin?
Or are they (as I initially interpreted) looking at whether or not the LCO transfers powers that the Assembly shouldn’t have legally ? And therefore leaving the Assembly do the close scrutiny at the measure stage.
Either way - someone somewhere (for my sanity if nothing else) needs to decide or expect to see this confusion continue.
P.S Great updates on Twitter from David Cornock, Nick Speed et al