Orders of the Day — Referendums (Scotland and Wales) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:12 pm on 22nd May 1997.

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Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Welsh Office), Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 4:12 pm, 22nd May 1997

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his remarks about my appointment. I am not inviting amendments to the Bill and I shall not necessarily greet them with enthusiasm, but he, Plaid Cymru, the Conservatives and the Liberals have the right to press their arguments, which we shall listen to although we shall also be bound by our overall policy. My argument is that unless the Bill gets into Parliament as a result of a yes vote in the referendum, that opportunity will not arise.

Unless the Government win the referendum, devolution in Wales will be dead in the water. There will not be another chance to create a Welsh Assembly or a Welsh Parliament. If Wales votes no to devolution for the second time in a generation, Wales can kiss goodbye to devolution. That is the blunt truth. No Government will bother with it again. This is our one and only chance. It is a once-in-a-lifetime vote. Let us go for it.