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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 11:26 GMT
Wales@Westminster newslog

It's Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life.

Wednesday 7 December

Devolution dilemma

posted by David | 1124 GMT |

Another item for David Cameron's in-tray.

Tomorrow the UK Government will publish a Bill that would give the Welsh assembly more powers and give the new Tory leader an early dilemma.

The Government of Wales Bill would allow the assembly a bigger law-making role by fast-tracking new laws for Wales through Westminster.

It will change the voting system to prevent candidates standing for election in both individual constituencies and on regional lists.

It will also pave the way for the assembly to get full law-making powers, subject to a referendum of the Welsh people.

We know that some Tories, notably the party's leader in the Welsh assembly, are in favour of giving the assembly more power.

But the Welsh Conservatives' main man at Westminster, Bill Wiggin, wants to abolish the assembly.

Mr Wiggin may no longer be shadow Welsh secretary by the time the Bill is debated.

David Cameron has signalled that he believes it is time to drop the option of abolition from the Tory policy portfolio (it was offered in the 2005 election manifesto which he wrote).

So does that mean the new Tory attitude to devolution will see the party support the government's new Bill? Some MPs think the Conservatives should vote against it at every stage of its Parliamentary passage.

The first Commons debate on it is due within weeks. For the Conservatives, and other opposition parties, it will soon be make-your-mind-up time.




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