Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Grand plan

Bad news for those of you who had already made travel and accommodation plans, but the Welsh Grand Committee meeting for July 8 has been cancelled.

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain announced yesterday that the committee, made up of the 40 MPs from Wales and Cheryl Gillan, would meet to discuss plans to give the National Assembly the power to make laws on the Welsh language.

It would have been the first time that the committee had discussed a Legislative Competence Order (LCO).

The meeting was cancelled on the intervention of the chair of another Welsh committee - the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs - Hywel Francis.

He complained to Mr Hain that the (grand) committee would not have had time to consider his (select) committee's report on the Welsh Language LCO.

That report is said to be "imminent" and should be finalised next week, but will take seven days to print. So the Welsh Grand is postponed for another day.

Dr Francis says: "I have informed him (Peter Hain) that he will need to consult with me and the opposition parties before a Welsh Grand Committee can meet to discuss my Committee's Report."

That's the Secretary of State told, then. Dr Francis says: "Peter accepts it was a mistake for him to choose the date without consulting me."

The Wales Office says it did try to consult Dr Francis but struggled to contact him after he lost his mobile phone.

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