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Clause 2 — Removal of restriction on standing for election for both constituency — and electoral region

Part of Wales Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 24th June 2014.

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Photo of Nia Griffith Nia Griffith Shadow Minister (Wales) 4:15 pm, 24th June 2014

Amendment 13 would remove a clause which would make it possible for people to stand both on the regional list and in the constituency. A bizarre argument is put forward in favour of dual candidacy—if dual candidacy is not allowed, the smaller parties in Wales may struggle to find sufficient candidates of any quality—but if such parties expect the electorate to take them seriously as parties that could help form a Government in Wales, they need to demonstrate that they can find enough additional candidates to field on each of the five regional lists.

Could this problem of finding candidates be something to do with which parties we are talking about and what they believe in? Could it be that young people in Wales are not rushing to put themselves forward as Conservative candidates because they know that the Conservative party in Westminster abolished the educational maintenance allowance, while the Labour Welsh Government have retained it, or because the Conservative Government here did away with Labour’s future jobs fund, whereas the Labour Welsh Government have launched a similar programme, Jobs Growth Wales, focusing on the private sector? There is also the issue of university tuition fees.

Could it be that people are not coming forward as candidates for Plaid Cymru because they do not want an independent Wales, or because they do not want to support cutting tax for the better off, as Plaid Cymru’s economic adviser, Adam Price, has confirmed is its policy? People have realised that Plaid Cymru is not the progressive party it pretends to be, but a reactionary party.

Perhaps people do not want to put themselves forward as Lib Dem candidates as they are somewhat confused. One minute we hear that the Lib Dems are in favour of a reserved powers model, yet we struggled to see any of them in the Lobby with us, supporting our amendment. I am not sure where they are now.

People simply do not like to think that they have bothered to go out to vote, only to find that although their preferred candidate won, the candidate or candidates they rejected also got in. We all remember the Clwyd West scenario where the Labour candidate won the constituency—