Welsh Council

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1967.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Stephen Davies Mr Stephen Davies , Merthyr Tydfil 12:00 am, 20th July 1967

asked the Secretary of State for Wales why he proposes to appoint an unelected and unrepresentative national advisory Council for Wales with wide, and possibly wider powers, thus depriving the peoples of Wales of their democratic rights.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

Nothing I have proposed will deprive the people of Wales of their democratic rights, which will continue to be preserved through Parliamentary representation and through their elected local authorities. The new Welsh Council will have advisory, not executive, functions.

Photo of Mr Stephen Davies Mr Stephen Davies , Merthyr Tydfil

Is not this national advisory Council wholly unelected and unrepresentative? Why should this happen in a country with such a splendid record of local government?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

I am certainly prepared to pay a tribute to all those who have worked in local government in Wales, but this has nothing to do with local government as such.

Photo of Mr Gwynfor Evans Mr Gwynfor Evans , Carmarthen

Will the Welsh Committee of the Arts Council, the Welsh Tourist Board and the Welsh Development Corporation remain in existence after the establishment of this new, nominated advisory Council? If so, what will be the functions of this proposed new Council in relation to their affairs?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

These bodies will continue to exercise their executive functions but will have the benefit of the advice of the Welsh Council, which will have representatives from all over Wales.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, we on this side are opposed to the nominated Council he is setting up, but I want to make one point in connection with it. To make things clear, would not the Secretary of State consider changing the name and not continue to use the word "Council"? There have been so many different sorts of Welsh Councils in the last 15 years that people simply cannot understand them.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

It is not the name that counts but the work such bodies do. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman should say that his party is opposed to the nominated Council when his party supported one for over 13 years.

Photo of Mr Emlyn Hooson Mr Emlyn Hooson , Montgomeryshire

In view of the generally hostile reception of this proposal, and as the Secretary of State for Scotland does not appear to need an advisory Council, what justification is there for the Secretary of State to set up yet another nominated Council in Wales?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

The hon. and learned Gentleman ought to read the White Paper.

Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set up a body at an early date to consider the desirability of establishing an elected Council for Wales with the aim of further strengthening of all-Wales machinery referred to in paragraph 57 of the White Paper on Local Government in Wales.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

No, Sir. This matter will be reviewed at the appropriate time in the light of the Reports of the Royal Commissions on Local Government in England and Scotland.

Photo of Mr Elystan Morgan Mr Elystan Morgan , Cardiganshire

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that unless a study is made of the question of devolution of central Government the hopes expressed in paragraph 57 of the White Paper will remain rather vague and uncertain aspirations?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

The task I am anxious to get on with, the important and urgent task, is the reorganisation of local government in Wales, although, as I have already said, the Welsh Council I propose will have a much wider and more specific task than the former Council for Wales.

Photo of Mr Gwynfor Evans Mr Gwynfor Evans , Carmarthen

In view of the most humiliating rejection of an elected Council for Wales for reasons unconnected with the welfare of Wales, would not the Secretary of State agree that the whole proposal should be completely dropped and that we should now concentrate on getting at the earliest moment a legislature for Wales as a whole?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

The hon. Member is irrelevant, as usual.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

In an earlier reply, the right hon. Gentleman referred to the nominated Council Does he now say that Wales may have a completely new local government set-up when the Royal Commission on Local Government in England and Scotland reports?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

I have already said that further consideration will be given to this matter, but I cannot prejudge the issue at this stage.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands Mr Ted Rowlands , Cardiff North

Can my hon. Friend say whether the new national Council will hold its meeting in public?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

That will be a matter for the Council to decide.