Posted: Wed 5th Apr 2023

Senedd Reform could see increase in ministers and a requirement for candidates to live in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2023

The number of government ministers could be increased as part of new proposals to reform the Welsh Parliament. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The change is one of several being discussed as part of the Co-operation Agreement between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They want Senedd reform to be implemented in time for the next election in 2026, even if some of the changes are introduced on an interim basis. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

This includes an increase in members by 36 to 96 elected through a proportional representation process and statutory gender quotas. ‌
First Minister Mark Drakeford has now confirmed several “broad policy themes” that have been taken forward, including mandatory zipping for party candidate lists. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

This would require political parties to alternate between men and women on their candidate lists in a bid to introduce a gender quota. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The number of Welsh ministers could also increase from 12 to 17, with powers to further increase the roles to 18 or 19 with approval of the Senedd. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Other policy themes under discussion include: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

  • Repurposing and renaming the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales, providing the new Democracy and Boundary Commission Cymru with the functions necessary to undertake ongoing reviews of Senedd constituency boundaries.
  • The instructions the Democracy and Boundary Commission Cymru will follow to undertake their boundary reviews, both in respect of the streamlined review to pair constituencies in advance of the 2026 Senedd election, a full review in advance of the subsequent election, and ongoing periodic reviews.
  • Increasing from 1 to 2 the maximum number of Deputy Presiding Officers who may be elected.

In a written statement First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We continue to make good progress on the development of the policy detail needed to translate the SPC recommendations into legislative provisions as part of the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“In doing so we are reflecting the conclusions reached by the Business Committee in its report published in December. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We continue to work closely with delivery partners in a number of fora to consider the implementation arrangements for these reforms and develop the necessary information for the supporting documentation to accompany the legislation. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We are also progressing this work in conjunction with the reforms being taken forward following the consultation on the Electoral Administration and Reform White Paper. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I will provide the Senedd with a further update at the summer recess.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru are also exploring whether to include a requirement for candidates and Members of the Senedd to be a resident in Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

This would be alongside a need for candidates to declare as part of their nomination any political party membership that they have held in the 12 months prior to an election, similar to the arrangements already in place for local government elections. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

However Senedd reform plans have been controversial amongst some politicians, with the the Welsh Conservatives describing the proposals as “completely unnecessary.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies said: “Looking at the First Minister’s in-tray; a Welsh NHS in crisis, an education system in disrepair and a languishing economy with falling job numbers, the last thing that should be on his mind is pressing ahead with his plan to send more politicians to Cardiff Bay. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We know that this will come at a cost of around £100 million to the Welsh taxpayer and with plans to increase the number of Ministers up to a completely unnecessary 19, the price tag could be even higher. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Only the Welsh Conservatives are fighting to stop these proposals to create more politicians in Cardiff Bay by Labour’s Mark Drakeford.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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