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Senedd Representation and Levelling-up Agenda

Volume 715: debated on Wednesday 25 May 2022

9. What discussions his Department has had with the Welsh Government on the potential effect on the levelling-up agenda of proposals to increase the size of the Senedd. (900143)

13. What discussions his Department has had with the Welsh Government on the potential effect on the levelling-up agenda of proposals to increase the size of the Senedd. (900147)

What assessment has my right hon. Friend made of the proposed changes to the voting system at Cardiff Bay and the potential impact on democratic representation?

It is mystifying that this proposal was announced on the same day as the Queen’s Speech. It will impose a £100 million burden on Welsh taxpayers and demolish a voting system that has served us well for years, and there has been no consultation with any voters at all. Even the Lib Dems describe it as a stitch-up.

The Welsh Government have decided that they want to increase the size of the Senedd, but there are real concerns that that will lead to a lack of proportionality in representation. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the money would be much better spent on public services?

Indeed, I do. I have to say that if this Government were making suggestions of that nature that involved the constitution and voting measures, pretty well all Opposition Members would be saying that that should be subject to a public referendum at the very least. I suggest that the proper course of action for the Welsh Government is to seek the approval of their voters before they proceed with any of the extremely costly measures proposed.