Wales Bill - Committee (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales 4:30 pm, 7th November 2016

My Lords, I disagree with the noble Lord on this point. I remember the same argument being put forward when we had the 2011 referendum. People were saying that it would not pass and that opinions had not changed in Wales. I remember people on my own side arguing that it would be defeated in all parts of Wales, up and down the country. That did not happen. It was won decisively in every local authority bar one—Monmouthshire, where it was marginally defeated. Do I think that circumstances have changed so that we do not need a referendum? Yes, I do. The noble Baroness speaking for the Labour Party thinks similarly, as do the other political parties. There is probably one political party that does not think that—UKIP—but I disagree with it. Opinion has changed and we would be doing Wales a massive disservice by having a referendum that I do not believe is necessary in the changed circumstances of devolution in 2016.