Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sad Gillian wants to play byelaws.

The first historic bill passed by the Welsh Assembly; following a mandate by the welsh public in a referendum - being the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Bill, has been referred to the Supreme Court by the Attorney General. This doesn't bode well for devolution in Wales, if such a simple bill can cause London to object.

The story was covered yesterday by the BBC see Attorney general in court challenge to first Welsh Bill.

The bill itself is quite simple, it removes the need for councils to seek confirmation from the Welsh Assembly; or concurrent confirmation of the Secretary of State for Wales, for certain byelaws, thus making it easier for councils to make byelaws.

Seeing that local government is a devolved issue I'm not sure why the Secretary of State for Wales would have had any concurrent function in the first place, and the Government of Wales Act 2006 does say in Schedule 5  "The general restrictions in Part 2 do not prevent a provision of an Assembly Measure removing or modifying, or conferring power by subordinate legislation to remove or modify, any function of a Minister of the Crown if the Secretary of State consents to the provision."

The question therefore is - what objections does Cheryl Gillan have to a bill that makes is easier for councils to make byelaws?

The BBC says "She said the UK government had identified its concerns over the removal of the role of the Secretary of State in confirming Welsh byelaws at both ministerial and official level with the Welsh government."

What!!! - It seems Cheryl Gillan wants to play byelaws and requires all councils in Wales to seek her consent for any byelaws, even for byelaws that need not be confirmed by the Welsh Government.

Even though its clear by virtue of Government of Wales Act 2006 and Section 58 1(c) ".. that any function so far as exercisable by a Minister of the Crown in relation to Wales [or the Welsh zone] is to be exercisable by the Minister of the Crown only with the agreement of, or after consultation with, the Welsh Ministers, the First Minister or the Counsel General."

But that can't be the real reason surely? - there must be something else, and I suspect a darker political game behind all of this. Is this an attempt by London to disturb the legitimate work of the Welsh Government on dubious grounds?

Or has the Welsh Government failed to amended the Bill to cater for legitimate concerns raised by the Secretary of State for Wales?

Whatever, we the welsh public duly voted to have additional powers be given to the Welsh Assembly in relation to matters already devolved to it.  But it now seems that in cases where concurrent powers are to be amended, all the Secretary of State for Wales has to do is object to stop any bill proceeding. And the Welsh Government has no appeal - so much for democracy!!

I suspect that this is about something bigger, something else that London wants to stop in due course, and are using this bill to lay down a marker early on - in other words it's London saying to us in Wales, you can legislate as long as we approve.

I have a feeling that there is an old Whitehall mentality still burning in the background, of an old guard that never really wanted to give Wales greater powers in the first place, and a possible reason why the Welsh Conservatives feel more isolated from the main party than ever.

Of course I'm biased, I've never rated 'Governor' Gillan (she whom brought electricity to the people of South Wales - for which they shall always be grateful)- her real legacy will be a tunnel under her constituency, that'll be in England. Some of us wish the tunnel be built as soon as possible, so that Gillan can enter and never leave, and we can have a Welsh Secretary whom really does care for Wales.

We have been here before: Cheryl - your the Welsh Secretary - just in case you've forgotten.

And Wales not part of Europe shock.

And Conservatives want to take powers away from Welsh Assembly.

And The Welsh Conservatives launch their election campaign


Prometheuswrites said...

This re-centralisation of powers to the WG may be in response to the fragmentation of services that has taken place since the 90's.

See this news report regarding education in Wales:

"Anglesey schools: Special measures call from Estyn"


Pads said...

Who put in this ridiculous provision? Labour. It was a Labour government Act, I'd ask Peter Hain why it was put in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Governor General Gillan's intervention on this issue is quite breathtaking.

1. We, the people of Wales, have, in last year's referendum, clearly given the neccessary consent required for a Welsh government to pass laws relating to Wales.

2. The views of, and the consent of, the honourable member for Chesham and Amersham, for these pieces of legislation, is not sought, neither is it required.

3. This matter again I'm afraid tells us a great deal about the political debate taking place within the ranks of the middle-England Tory party. The Tories, are at present losing ground to UKIP, an extreme right-wing bunch of fruitcakes( David Cameron's term, not mine), who, amongst other things, wish to abolish the Welsh Assembly.

This issue, I believe,is an attempt to bolster the right-wing credentials of an unpopular Tory Party. It wants to be seen as tough on crime, tough on immigrants, and tough on Devolution.

The Governor General should back down. Being an English MP, she has no moral authority to make any pronouncements on this matter.