Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Referendum fever, anyone?

Have you recovered from election fever yet? I'm getting there.

Gordon Brown's decision not to hold an election, having spent £1m of Labour Party money preparing for one, brought his honeymoon with voters to a swift end.

But for those of us suffering from withdrawal symptoms, help is at hand. Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan (with his Plaid deputy Ieuan Wyn Jones) has announced the name of the chair of a convention to plot the path towards a full law-making parliament for Wales.

The convention will be chaired by the diplomat Sir Emyr Jones Parry. Its make-up will be considered by a group of MPs and AMs.

The path to a parliament is subject to a referendum - and to agreement from Westminster. The convention will consider the date of any referendum.

Rhodri Morgan said: "It will be on or before the next election (2011). We can see no reason to depart from that commitment."

Not every Labour MP or indeed Cabinet Minister (I'm thinking Peter Hain here) shares his conviction that a referendum will be held before then.

Mr Hain welcomed the appointment but said: "the MP and AM group have yet to convene to decide the composition of the convention". That MP and AM group is likely to include such enthusiasts for devolution as the former Wales Office Minister Don Touhig.

But it would after all be totally unprecedented for a Labour administration to whip up excitement for a public vote only to decide not to hold one at the last moment. Wouldn't it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, didn't see that one coming. No wait, I did.