Thursday, 22 October 2009

Peter Hain, Father of LCOs

As anticipation mounts before the publication of the All Wales Convention's report into the National Assembly's powers, one of those politcians involved in the debate has tried to cool the excitement.

Peter Hain, whose agreement would be required before a powers referendum could be held, has again made it clear he doesn't expect to agree to one before the general election due before next June.

The Welsh Secretary's main opposition to the idea of an early vote appears tactical - he thinks it would be lost.
"I said when taking the 2006 Bill through that I didn't foresee circumstances in which a referendum was desirable or likely in the first Assembly term {in which the new arrangements operate}. That is still my default position.

"I am not going to be dogmatic or rigid about it but I can't really see any circumstance in which you could win a referendum.
"People may want a referendum, there may be some other imperative but I want to win it. I want to be part of a winning campaign. I just don't see circumstances in which we could win it before 2011 or on the same day as the Assembly elections in May 2011."

The All Wales Convention, chaired by Sir Emyr Jones Parry, is due to present its findings on the debate on November 18. This presents something of a diary clash for newshounds but perhaps Her Majesty would be kind enough to move the pre-arranged State Opening of Parliament.

Mr Hain told a Wales Office briefing this morning that he was pleased with the current legislative system - involved Legislative Competence Orders - as it was his invention. "LCOs......this was my baby."

Thereby a new role in Welsh politics was created. We already have "the architect of devolution" - now we have "the father of LCOs." Don't blame me if it doesn't catch on.

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