Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Referendum(s) fever - "pretty bloody confusing"

You wait years for referendum fever to take off and then two come along at once.

I'll leave the Alternative Vote details to those with more time on their hands, but I ventured into the Welsh referendum date by asking a question at a Plaid Cymru Westminster news conference.

When, I asked Plaid's parliamentary leader, would the next Welsh referendum - on increasing the Assembly's powers - be?

Elfyn Llwyd said: "I don't think it is going to be in May [2011], it is either going to be in October or March. At the present time my suspicion is October."

Mr Llwyd said First Minister Carwyn Jones and his Plaid deputy Ieuan Wyn Jones had held a press conference in Cardiff today at which they were not talking dates.

"The Conservatives in the National Assembly are adamant that they don't want it on the same day as the election in May.

"And frankly, there is some sense in that because while parties might be rowing the same boat on the referendum they are also at each others' throats getting seats so it's going to be pretty bloody confusing."

"I don't think anyone wants to be hemmed in by the Tories and giving in to their demands but their demand is that they would be happy to vote for the trigger provided it was explicitly ruled out that there would be something in May.

"In reality it is ruled out, all but, although no guarantees can be given. It is simply not tenable" {to hold a referendum on election day}"

He added: "My guess is October, if not March."

It's fair to say that the reporting of those remarks has led to a minor, although hopefully temporary, eruption on the Elfynometer.

Perhaps I'll stick to less controversial subjects in future; tomorrow, it's back to the Iraq Inquiry.

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