Wednesday, 24 October 2007

W(h)ither the Wales Office?

Adam Price's suggestion that the Wales Office be abolished has sparked a bit of a debate on Peter Black's blog.

One Price supporter questions whether there is a single example of Peter Hain changing Westminster opinion in the Assembly's favour.

Well, it's not this blog's role to defend Peter Hain but even his enemies would admit that he overcame the odds to deliver the last Government of Wales Act. The history of devolution is the history of compromise but the Act goes a lot further than some sceptical Labour MPs would wish.

Adam Price says his are personal views, not party policy. Indeed, four years ago Plaid Cymru issued a press release criticising the then apparent demise of the Wales Office.

"The Wales Office is presently central to the success of the Assembly", said parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd at the time. "Only when Wales gains a full parliament with law-making powers should the Wales Office be abolished."

That day may be still be some time off, despite the optimism in Assembly Government and newspaper circles.

Adam Price is also calling for the running costs of the Assembly - he estimates them at £40m a year - to be paid above the grant supplied to Wales by the UK Government.

It's a point also being made by the BMA, who say the cost of running Parliament isn't taken from the budgets for health and education.


Aralio said...

the real question is - when will the Wales Office be rebranded, after paying for the requisite consultants, as 'Interlocutors-R-Us'...

little ol me said...

Peter Hain has always been a passionate devolutionist, I just wonder why he has aligned himself with the most unpleasant reactionary elements of the Labour Party maybe its a good career move but it does little for his credibility in Wales and gives his opponent like Adam Price plenty of ammunition, in answer to post the question is 'what is the Welsh Office for?'