Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Welsh Grand Committee does the Welsh language LCO

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.

Dewi Un

P.S Great updates on Twitter from David Cornock, Nick Speed et al



Elin said...

The obvious conclusion from today's debate is that the whole LCO process is too complex, time-consuming and a waste scarce resources. Ditch the LCO process and move to Part 4 of GOWA 2006 as soon as possible. Alun Michael said today that the BBC and Lord Elis Thomas don't understand the LCO process - well does anybody?

Nia said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't understand. I thought the process was quite simple. Something like the TMO, an objective voice of authority with only one question to answer - 'Is there any reason we can't award this try?' It seems the MPs want to ref the game and take part as well. Very confusing. I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

answer? Get rid of Welsh MPs. What are they for? Once the Tories win the UK election, Labour MPs may rue the day they fussed about and frustrated the Language LCO as it is giving the Tories a precident to do the same.

Time for Labour to get their act together about keeping the One Wales promise on a Referendum.