Wales Bill - Committee (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Murphy of Torfaen Lord Murphy of Torfaen Labour 10:00 pm, 7th November 2016

My Lords, I yield to no one in my admiration for my noble friend Lord Elystan-Morgan, but although I agree fundamentally with one of his amendments, I disagree fundamentally with the first. Dominion status is about the shedding of British governance. The 1931 statute of Westminster gave the dominions power over their own affairs, effectively making them semi-independent. I do not want to give up British governance in Wales; I am glad that we have it—and I am also glad that we have Welsh governance in Wales. I like the two, which is why I believe that we are in the right position in the United Kingdom whereby we have devolved Governments in those places that require them—Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I hope that we can extend the same system of government to parts of England, too. I have always believed that, and I think we are heading towards it.

I cannot agree with the first of the amendments, but I fundamentally agree with the second—that a working party should be set up to look at the operation of Schedule 1 to the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Elystan-Morgan, is absolutely right and put his finger on it when he asked why this particular list has come to fruition. It has come to fruition because individual government departments have made a wish-list of what they wanted to keep. It was not about looking at the bigger picture of what should happen in this new dispensation for Wales. So to have a body that looks at the operation of the new situation in Wales, with the reserved power Assembly, with this schedule, is absolutely right and I support it.