Schedule 14
Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill
9:30 am

Powers of National Assembly for Wales

Photo of Andrew Stunell

Andrew Stunell (Shadow Secretary of State for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Communities and Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government; Hazel Grove, Liberal Democrat)

I beg to move amendment No. 212, in schedule 14, page 166, line 44, at end insert—

Matter 12.6

Provision for and in connection with methods of election and electoral arrangements.’.

Welcome back, Mr. Benton. I shall be brief because we have to make a lot of progress today.

The schedule relates to the powers devolved to the National Assembly for Wales and on pages 165 and 166 of the Bill is a list of additional powers and changes to powers. The amendment would add an additional power transferred to the National Assembly for Wales that relates to the delegation of methods of election and electoral arrangements for local government in Wales. At the moment, the Assembly and the Administration in Wales are competent to propose changes, but they have to be signed off here at the Westminster Parliament. Bearing in mind the huge surge of democracy that took place in this building last night, I hope that the Government see fit, particularly remembering the devolutionary words of the Ministers in this Committee, to agree that the amendment should be added to the list of powers, thus giving the Administration and the Assembly in Wales the competence to make the same changes that have been made in Scotland and which would be very much of a piece with the devolutionary atmosphere in the Bill.

Photo of Angela Smith

Angela Smith (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government; Basildon, Labour)

It is good to see you back in the Chair, Mr. Benton, this fine morning. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for tabling the amendment. It is interesting how the word “devolution” is sometimes bandied around in Committee and the different interpretations that are given to it.

The amendment would enable the Assembly Government to bring forward proposals for the  National Assembly to legislate on methods of election and electoral arrangements for local government in Wales. The UK Government are committed to using UK Bills to confer new powers on the National Assembly if it is appropriate to do so. The Assembly Government have asked that we take the opportunity of this Bill to bring forward proposals in respect of local government in Wales, but they have not sought the power that the hon. Member for Hazel Grove has asked us to give. Devolution is a matter that the Assembly Government should raise first. It would not be right for the Committee to propose something that has not been requested by the Assembly Government. On that basis, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Andrew Stunell

Andrew Stunell (Shadow Secretary of State for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Communities and Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government; Hazel Grove, Liberal Democrat)

On the grounds that we live to fight another day, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 14 agreed to.