Forum

Latest News
{"effect":"fade","fontstyle":"normal","autoplay":"true","timer":4000}

Wales Act 2015  

Page 1 / 3
  RSS

Macmillan
(@dylan-macmillan)
MP for North East Bedfordshire
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 520
24/06/2019 6:53 pm  

https://docs.google.com/document/d/192Ey95HRnZYtqIpValQcyjH6CEjjthIdK-Ov4QS4Vk0/edit?usp=sharing

Mr Speaker I beg leave to introduce the following bill on an Opposition Day.

The successful passage of the Scotland Act, against the government's pseudo-Machiavellian machinations and general lack of desire to debate Scotland's constitutional future, leaves the United Kingdom with a series of dilemmas which must be solved to ensure a return to constitutional stability and normality. One of the chief among them to my mind is the idea that Wales should be given some degree of enhanced autonomy under our constitution. The Conservative belief is one that emphasises that individuals achieve to their best when individuals are given the ability to by the government, if government has to get involved then the involvement must be limited in scope and only to the degree where it creates a level playing field. But how can the national government effectively determine what the correct level of involvement actually is? The people who know what matters for their communities best are the people who live in these communities, that is why it is proper for these communities to be given a larger say in the way they are governed and in what they would like their taxpayers' money to go towards.

Mr Speaker it is with this view in mind that the Wales Act shall seek to devolve fresh powers to the newly upgraded Welsh Parliament with the newly empowered Welsh Government taking a greater interest in the lives of Welsh citizens with new powers. As before under the Conservative Party's Scotland Act the Welsh Parliament shall have discretion to amend Income Tax, adjust Corporation Tax by plus or minus 5%, make important constitutional decisions for Welsh elections, and safeguard itself against dissolution against its own will or the will of the people of Wales. The Wales Act also makes provision for the devolution of powers to both the Welsh and the Scottish Parliaments that they did not have before, powers with regards to road signage, onshore oil and gas extraction, harbours, rail franchising, and energy efficiency. These powers shall allow both governments to forge greener, more trade-friendly, and more public service oriented administrations should they wish.

Mr Speaker it is essential that we begin to spread the devolution to the countries and regions that make up our nation. We do not want to end up in a situation where one area of the United Kingdom is empowered to the detriment of the others and we do not want a situation to develop where the populations of some areas become frustrated at any power-gaps between their respective devolved legislatures. This bill is about creating a greater sense of constitutional balance between Scotland and Wales in particular but its principles should be drawn upon repeatedly as we build a nation that recognises that it has many different parts but that together we exceed their sum. We are one nation and we must never forget it, but equally we must never forget our history and we must never forget that it is local people who are best placed to decide what is best for their locality.

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition

Prime Minister (2014)

Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)


Quote
Richard
(@richard)
Member A-team
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 124
25/06/2019 12:59 am  

Order! Second reading!

Rick the Admin - The Resident Psephologist
Admin for Cabinet, PM's Office, DPM's Office, Defence, Energy, Regions, Environment, Transport, Communities, Elections, and Advisor to Labour and the Lib Dems


ReplyQuote
Steven Andrews
(@steven-andrews)
Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 104
25/06/2019 12:29 pm  

Mr. Speaker,
Yet again, without a word from the Government on the topic of Wales, the Conservative Party takes the lead in devolving powers to the Welsh Assembly, now to be the Welsh Parliament.  Yet again the Member for North East Bedfordshire has introduced a solid piece of legislation granting the people of one of our nations greater control over their own affairs: Over tax, over spending, over transport and many other matters.  This bill is a solid move forward for responsible devolution.

At this point I think we can safely say that the Conservative Party is the party of devolution and of responsible local control over affairs.  This bill not only increases the powers of the Welsh Parliament, it also ensures that devolution is here to stay by ensuring that unless either the Welsh Parliament, by a 2/3 supermajority, or the Welsh voters themselves vote to abolish it then the Welsh Parliament cannot be abolished.  This is fundamentally the same package that Scotland has received, so as my colleague has said we now grant Scotland and Wales the same broad package of powers as one another.

Steven Andrews, MP for Croydon South

34 Policy/18 Media/23 Parliamentary


ReplyQuote
Faye Gallacher
(@faye-gallacher)
Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 170
25/06/2019 12:29 pm  

Mr. Speaker,

I rise today, using my first intervention as Home and, as crucially, Devolution Secretary to thank the Leader of the Opposition for introducing this legislation. The Better Together Campaign had pledged to work in a cooperative way in regards to Scottish devolution. We must be clear that we must make a similar pledge in regards to Welsh devolution.

That is why I am announcing today that the government will be supporting this bill. The Labour Party has consistently spearheaded devolution - we created the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, and we are more than happy to champion and strengthen both. 

Of course Mr. Speaker, what is crucial is that we ensure that we get devolution right so that it effectively works for the people of Wales and Scotland. Enthusiasm for devolution is understandable, but it cannot be rushed, otherwise we see legislation without the i's dotted or the t's crossed. We have seen that with the Scotland Act which is why the government will continue to consult on further powers to the Scottish Parliament, including borrowing powers. Mr. Speaker, it is clear this bill needs to be amended in a similar vein. 

It is important here we use the Silk Commission - commissioned by the Conservative government, so I expect its results to garner the support of the Leader of the Opposition - as a crucial template as we proceed, Mr. Speaker. The commission included a range of sources across the Welsh parties, and thus gives us a broad, cross party view on how we can proceed. Using that as a template, I will propose these amendments.

The first amendment I propose doesn't just strengthen the Welsh Assembly - and hopefully soon Parliament's - name and its constitutional place, its absolutely crucial we ensure that the Welsh Parliament is able to function effectively. The Silk Commission made it startlingly clear that at current the Welsh Assembly is 'overstretched' and that this 'causes problems for effective government'. Similar findings were found in the Richards Commission in 2004. It was recommended that at the very minimum the Assembly - or Parliament - should have 80 members. 

For it to best utilise the powers we have given for it, and to best work for the Welsh people, it must be expanded. 

However, I understand that some people in Wales may be hesitant to have an effective Welsh Parliament, both in the way more members would need to be included, and in the way this would represent a huge shift constitutionally for Wales. I personally believe this is the best decision for the Welsh people and fully support a Welsh Parliament, and the Labour Party will be campaigning for this change. But it is not for Westminster to hoist that change on the Welsh people without consultation or approval, especially as we know Wales is historically slightly more hesitant on the issue of devolution in comparison with the Scottish people. I therefore strongly believe that these changes should only occur following a referendum, where the people of Wales determine the constitutional future of their legislature. 

I move to amend:

2. The Welsh Legislature and Executive

  1. The Welsh legislature, formerly known as the Assembly, shall now be called the “Welsh Parliament”
  2. The Welsh executive is to be renamed the “Government of Wales” or “Welsh Government”
  3. The Welsh legislature shall be expanded to include 80 members. This will be set by the Boundary Commission for Wales. 
  4. This will be implemented if approved by referendum which will occur no later than the 1st of January 2018. The organisation of that referendum will be determined by the Secretary of State in coordination with the Electoral Commission. 

On income tax Mr. Speaker I note that again the Silk Commission has not been used as a template on income tax. Mr. Speaker, again, I must stress that the Labour party supports these proposals and will be campaigning for their implementation and that these proposals have my full support. But the Silk Commission, which very explicitly recommended referendums be set on income tax proposals. But once again this represents a huge transfer of fiscal powers - and therefore a huge transfer of responsibility some may not want to have. Such changes cannot be thrust upon the Welsh people from above with no consultation. Therefore, I move to amend:

  1. Powers with Regards to the Setting of Income Tax
  1. The Welsh Parliament may alter the rate of Income Tax payable in Wales by order in their annual budget
  2. Should the rate of Income Tax in Wales be set to be lower than the rate payable in the rest of the United Kingdom then the Welsh Parliament shall pay the difference to the British Government out of monies set aside in the United Kingdom’s Budget for the people of Wales
  3. Should the rate of Income Tax in Wales be set to be higher than the rate payable in the rest of the United Kingdom then the surplus shall be paid to Wales through a separate expenditure in the United Kingdom’s Budget
    a.The existence of this funding shall not in anyway prejudice or reduce the amount of money Wales receives through other budgetary means
  4. With regards to Sections 2(2) and 2(3) Her Majesty’s Treasury shall calculate how much revenue Wales would have generated had they kept the United Kingdom’s Income Tax structure and add or subtract payments accordingly
  5. With regards to Section 2(4) Her Majesty’s Treasury shall not have the power to demand payment from the Welsh Parliament with regard to income tax underspend that is above the amount of money sent to Wales through the annual budget
  6. The Welsh Parliament has complete discretion to increase or reduce the number of bands payable in Welsh jurisdiction.
  7. This will be implemented if approved by referendum which will occur no later than the 1st of January 2018. The organisation of that referendum will be determined by the Secretary of State in coordination with the Electoral Commission. 

What I must also stress Mr. Speaker is that this bill does not go far enough on what it devolves. The Silk Commission explicitly recommended that the Welsh government have more power over Welsh energy projects, over media such as the BBC and SC4, over the water industry, over many forms of transport including ports, taxis and buses and over policing.

To further protect and strengthen devolution in Wales, we don't just need to protect the constitutional position of the Welsh Legislature, Mr. Speaker. We need to reform how powers are granted to the people of Wales.

In Scotland, devolution is arranged so that we're not throwing piecemeal scraps of devolution to the Welsh people. There are a set of arranged powers that we in the United Kingdom have and the people of Scotland determine the rest. It is strongly agreed that this should be the Welsh model. Not only does this constitutionally protect Wales' position, it would create legal clarity: we have already seen multiple bills passed by the Welsh assembly be referred not to the people of Wales but to the Supreme Court in London due to the confusion that has been created.

The government is pushing for this to change, Mr. Speaker.

Thus, I move to amend: 

  1. The Welsh Parliament shall have full legislative competency over the following areas:
    a.
    Road signage
    b.
    Onshore oil and gas authority
    c. Transport, including rail, buses, ports and taxis 
    d. Energy efficiency. 
    e. An increase on energy projects to 350 megawatts. 
    f. Policing, including drink driving and speed limits. 
    g. Water. 
    h. Governance of the Welsh BBC Trust.
    i. Spending for S4C.
  2. Any powers in Section 8(1) not devolved to the Scottish Parliament are devolved to the Scottish Parliament henceforth.
  3. The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Welsh Assembly, shall restructure the delivery of powers to Wales to a 'reserved powers' model.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, with such a huge transfer of fiscal powers to the people of Wales it strikes me as peculiar to not give the Welsh people a department responsible for the administration and collection of taxation. This will further allow them to better manage these transfers of fiscal power. 

I move to amend:

Collection and Administration of Taxation (Wales). 

  1. A non ministerial department responsible for the collection and administration for taxation in Wales shall be established.

  2. Responsibility for this department will lie with the Welsh Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, unless the executive decides to change responsibility.

  3. The relevant Welsh Minister is responsible for the naming and the organisation of this department. 

I hope the Leader of the Opposition will consider these amendments, which are the product of years of cross party work and consideration surrounding Welsh devolution - it is time for change, for Wales and Scotland to go beyond political football by the main Westminster parties.

I will be the first to admit it, Mr. Speaker, the government has not been as responsive as it should have been on matters of devolution - that changes now. 

But just as this government has not been responsive enough, the Opposition have been too rushed in delivering legislation to the House. I would like to ask the Leader of the Opposition who he had consulted or what work he had drawn on when drafting the Scotland Act and this act? On election promises, yes, but we have made it clear we must go above and beyond. And slogans alone do not make good policy without serious consultation. 

The government will ensure we deliver on further devolution. We must be clear that devolution in Scotland and Wales has not ended and that there is more to be done. 

But this time it will draw from a variety of political parties, perspectives and talents. This time it will be consulted on. We don't just need devolution - we need to get it right. That is what this government promises the Scottish and Welsh people. 

"[we] would rather die than leave the Labour Party." - Emily Thornberry.


ReplyQuote
William Croft
(@william-croft)
Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 211
25/06/2019 3:32 pm  

Mr. Speaker, 

It gives me great pleasure to join my Rt. Hon friend the Leader of the Opposition and rise in favor of this legislation. 

Government works best when the people it serves are close to the center of power, Mr. Speaker. The people of Wales know best when it comes to what works for Wales. The political reality we find ourselves in today, however, prevents the Welsh from making decisions for themselves and their families. The Welsh Assembly lacks the legitimacy it needs to effectively implement policy, leaving the people of Wales with ineffective local government and limitations set on the country's potential. 

Today's legislation fixes just that, Mr. Speaker. It empowers and expands the Welsh Assembly, soon to be the Welsh Parliament, in order to make it a meaningful legislative body that can implement the will of the Welsh people. Transforming the body into a true parliament, expanding their power of setting tax rates, and enhancing their authority over other areas of policy making in Wales provides the country with the legislative body it needs to continue growing and innovating. 

Each of us is stronger when our Union is stronger, Mr. Speaker. Not only does this legislation strengthen our Union by showing that Parliament is listening to calls for greater devolution, but it tangibly strengthens our Union by providing more effective and responsive local government. Wales is better off when it has a legislative body with the power it needs to govern effectively, and a stronger Wales makes a stronger Union. This legislation is right for Wales, and it's right for the whole of The United Kingdom. 

I am encouraged to see Members of Parliament from the Government benches choosing to participate in the debate this time around, and even more encouraged to hear that the Government will be supporting the legislation. It was a national shame to see senior Cabinet ministers attempting to convince the SNP to fail the Scotland Act not on its merit, but in an attempt to improve their own political situation. I appreciate the Devolution Secretary's willingness to come prepared with constructive feedback and amendments, and I personally consider them friendly in nature. Let's hope this change of heart continues, Mr. Speaker. 

I commend this legislation to the House, and for the wellbeing of Wales and all of us across The United Kingdom, urge Members on both sides of the House to lend this legislation your support. 

 

William Croft
Member of Parliament for Bracknell
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Chief Whip of the Conservative party


ReplyQuote
Macmillan
(@dylan-macmillan)
MP for North East Bedfordshire
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 520
26/06/2019 12:44 am  

Mr Speaker,

I rise again in this debate to congratulate the Right Honourable Lady for actually showing up and doing her job as a Member for Parliament and a Minister in Her Majesty's Government. The last time I stood here to deliver legislation aimed at improving a part of the constitution of our United Kingdom I was greeted by a wall of silence from the benches opposite, it is refreshing to hear a voice that I do not hear during Conservative Party briefings. I commend the Right Honourable Lady for her presence and urge the Government as a whole to follow her example in future legislative debates.

Furthermore Mr Speaker I owe the Right Honourable Lady my personal thanks and gratitude for her unwavering support of the cause of devolution, she recognises that the closer to the public that any seat of power is the more accountable it may be, this is essential in ensuring not only that powers are exercised in the interests of the public but also in ensuring that those that wield the power are accountable for its usage. These thoughts are thoughts that I share with the Right Honourable Lady and they are thoughts that underpin the Conservative Party's devolution agenda, if the Right Honourable Lady is unsuccessful in her bid to become Prime Minister she will hopefully take comfort in the fact that there will be this lasting collaboration between herself and those of us on this side of the House.

I regret that the Right Honourable Lady feels that the Scotland Act has shortcomings, indeed had any member of the Government come before the House to address those shortcomings as the Right Honourable Lady has tonight then it would only have been right in the spirit of cross-party unity that underpinned the Better Together campaign, or those of us who actually went and campaigned with it on the ground, that those concerns be addressed. However I must fundamentally disagree with the Right Honourable Lady in her assertion that the devolved administrations be allowed to incur debt. If the devolved administrations are allowed to incur any more debt then it would create a dangerous precedent where the British Government would be ultimately liable for debt that we did not create nor did we intend to be liable for. What happens if a devolved administration goes bankrupt? What happens if a devolved administration is lawfully disbanded under either the Scotland Act or the Wales Bill? If the Right Honourable Lady would like to meet with me to discuss these issues or any others then my door is always open and my telephone is always in my pocket, I can give her my number after today's sitting.

On the subject of the Right Honourable Lady's first amendment, I accept it as friendly. Whilst I am loathe to increase the size of national and regional legislatures, and indeed believe that this very chamber should be reduced in size, I accept the charge that if the people of Wales are to have a Parliament they shall need more representation Equally a 33% increase in the number of AMs, or WMPs as they may be known, is a laborious fiscal burden which must be put to the people, however I would note that I personally move an amendment to the Right Honourable Lady's amendment namely that such a referendum must happen no less than three months before or after the Welsh Assembly election, the last thing we want our referendum on Welsh devolution to be is a referendum on the Welsh Government. I hope the Right Honourable Lady will accept this amendment to her amendment in the spirit of cross-party cooperation.

Mr Speaker I do not accept the Right Honourable Lady's second amendment as friendly. I recognise her reasons for moving it but I cannot in good conscience require a referendum for the devolution of a power to the Welsh Government that this place did not require of the Scottish Government without further discussion not only with the Right Honourable Lady but with the Welsh Government itself. In the spirit of cross-party cooperation would like to invite the Right Honourable Lady to come with me to meet with the Welsh Government and the leaders of major parties in the Senedd  to determine whether they would like this particular measure to be subject to a referendum or not.

Finally Mr Speaker I accept the Right Honourable Lady's third amendment as friendly. It was my intention to advocate for a reserved powers model in the Conservative Party's next general election manifesto, whenever that may be, if it has cross-party support now as it appears that it does then there is no point in the delay however I urge the Secretary of State to consult not just the Welsh Assembly but also the British Parliament to create a more holistic view of the situation. And to wrap it all off I accept the Right Honourable Lady's final amendment as friendly. I had intended for the power to be exercised by the Welsh Government's Minister for Finance but if, in the Right Honourable Lady's opinion, there exists a need for a new department then I think that in consultation with the Welsh Government this is not too big a concession to grant in the spirit of cross-party cooperation.

I would like to once again thank the Right Honourable Lady for her openness and commitment to cooperation today and urge her that my door has been open since the Scottish Referendum, it shall remain open going forward when the Government gets around to proposing its own sets of reforms.

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition

Prime Minister (2014)

Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)


ReplyQuote
Macmillan
(@dylan-macmillan)
MP for North East Bedfordshire
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 520
26/06/2019 12:53 am  

(Andy gave permission for me to put Nathan's amendments directly into the bill, they're the bits in bold)

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition

Prime Minister (2014)

Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)


ReplyQuote
Alex Cardigan
(@alexcardigan)
MP for Montgomeryshire
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 78
28/06/2019 11:18 am  

Mr Speaker,

I would like to briefly speak in favour of this legislation, which I see as a fantastic development in the ongoing constitutional changes affecting my nation and home of Wales. Myself and my colleagues in the Welsh Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for further devolution, and for keeping the cogs turning on ensuring that the Welsh people have a level of home rule not seen before. I am proud to be British and proud to be part of the union - I would be prouder still if my Assembly was stronger, if Wales was better off, and if my constituents saw the good that devolution can do in a clearer light.

I have had my disagreements - as well as my firm agreements - with the Member for North East Bedfordshire in the past. I must say, he has produced a fine piece of legislation here, and it has my full, ringing endorsement. I look forward to voting for it, and look forward more to seeing the immense benefit it will bring the people of my home in Montgomeryshire, and across my nation of Wales.

Alex Cardigan
MP for Montgomeryshire
Parliamentary - 5
Media - 16
Policy - 3


ReplyQuote
Faye Gallacher
(@faye-gallacher)
Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 170
28/06/2019 3:29 pm  

Mr. Speaker,

I would like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for his warm words. I have repeatedly made clear I believe a great challenge facing our country is how toxified politics has become. No one can be wrong any longer - they must just be liars. No one can make mistakes, they're just corrupt. I think acting cross party in the pursuit of common goals in this way is the strongest remedy, where we Members of Parliament can act as an example. But to the contents of the legislation - 

Mr. Speaker, now isn't the time to discuss in too explicit detail the Scotland Act. And I am not implying we give Scotland unlimited borrowing powers. But even 10, maybe 5 billion, could prove to be immeasurably useful for Scottish infrastructure - that isn't going to make Scotland go bankrupt. Borrowing is a tool so many governments have at their disposal, and can be advantageous if used effectively and managed well. 

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the vast majority of my amendments have been accepted by the Leader of the Opposition. However I must unfortunately focus on an area of disagreement: the requirement for a referendum to devolve income tax to Wales was explicitly established by the Silk Commission, already a cross party body by itself. Furthermore, this differs from the Scottish issue because Scotland has had a referendum on the issue of devolving income tax. On this basis, the government may need to move that the second amendment be brought to division. But what I will be doing first is consulting the First Minister of Wales and political leaders in the Welsh Assembly to gage their feelings - if there is a strong opposition to a referendum, that is something the government will consider. 

"[we] would rather die than leave the Labour Party." - Emily Thornberry.


ReplyQuote
William (Will) Conway
(@will-conway)
MP for Milton Keynes North
Joined: 1 month ago
Posts: 79
29/06/2019 2:30 am  

Mr. Speaker,

I am pleased to join my colleagues in all parties in supporting this bill.  I agree it is the right thing to do, and the honorable member from Montgomeryshire gave a moving testimony about how these moves towards further devolution increase his pride in being part of the United Kingdom.   May our diverse nations continue forward towards greater amity, mutual affection, and patriotism.

I would also note, Mr. Speaker, that on this issue, the Government and Opposition seem to be working together in a most constructive manner, and that is a positive signal to send to the nation.

Will Conway
Conservative
MP for Milton Keynes North (2014- )
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy,
Environment and Climate Change (2016- )

Parliamentary 16
Media 13
Policy 8


ReplyQuote
Andy
 Andy
(@adminandy)
Member A-team
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 64
30/06/2019 4:10 pm  

Mr Speaker:

Division! Clear the lobbies!


ReplyQuote
Macmillan
(@dylan-macmillan)
MP for North East Bedfordshire
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 520
30/06/2019 4:13 pm  

Aye

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
Leader of the Opposition

Prime Minister (2014)

Parliamentary Experience: Novice (25)
Media Experience: Experienced (62)
Policy Experience: Novice (29)


ReplyQuote
William Croft
(@william-croft)
Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 211
30/06/2019 4:15 pm  

Aye!

William Croft
Member of Parliament for Bracknell
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Chief Whip of the Conservative party


ReplyQuote
Steven Andrews
(@steven-andrews)
Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 104
30/06/2019 6:51 pm  

Aye

Steven Andrews, MP for Croydon South

34 Policy/18 Media/23 Parliamentary


ReplyQuote
William (Will) Conway
(@will-conway)
MP for Milton Keynes North
Joined: 1 month ago
Posts: 79
30/06/2019 6:57 pm  

Aye

Will Conway
Conservative
MP for Milton Keynes North (2014- )
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy,
Environment and Climate Change (2016- )

Parliamentary 16
Media 13
Policy 8


ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 3
Share: