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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Gale Baroness Gale Labour 9:30 pm, 7th November 2016

My Lords, by now, after the contributions that have been made, the Minister will be quite clear that there is a need to consolidate the Welsh Acts of Parliament. We believe that the Wales Bill would be appropriate and without doubt could consolidate matters so that the Welsh constitution is accessible as a single piece of legislation.

The Bill as it stands constantly refers to or amends many previous pieces of legislation, in particular the Government of Wales Act 2006. As such, reading and understanding where power lies in relation to Wales can be needlessly complicated. As noble Lords have said, we should therefore aim to bring as much clarity as possible to what could be a landmark piece of legislation.

So far, however, the UK Government do not seem to want to consolidate the Welsh devolution settlement into one authoritative piece of legislation. I believe they have said—perhaps the Minister can confirm this—that it is “not necessary”, because the constitutional settlement for Wales is in the Government of Wales Act 2006. We should strive for more than what is just necessary; rather, we should aim to produce a Bill that all of us in Wales will be proud of.

The Welsh Government have already drafted an alternative Wales Bill, drawing together many pieces of legislation into one self-contained whole. In that sense, the hard work has been done. Could the UK Government not simply follow the approach of the Welsh Government, and what I believe is the wish of noble Lords tonight? This would be an opportunity for us to forge clear, accessible and ambitious legislation. I am sure that the Minister has been listening to what all noble Lords have said, and I hope that he will come forward with some positive responses.