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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Wales@Westminster weblog

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

Tuesday 28 June

Forked tongues

posted by David | 1110 BST |

I hear of more ructions within Welsh Liberal Democrat ranks.

The party may have more Welsh MPs than any opposition party at Westminster but that is not enough to pacify one of its Welsh assembly members.

Peter Black has accused the party's leader in Wales of "making policy on the hoof" and refusing to consult Assembly Members.

Mr Black wrote on his weblog: "Lembit musters all the authority at his command as leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and of the second largest Welsh Parliamentary Party to make policy on the hoof, apparently never once stopping to think that it might be a good idea to consult with his party's Assembly Members, whose job it is to actually speak and vote on this issue."

The outburst was generated by a couple of quotes Mr Opik gave the Western Mail suggesting that school holidays could be staggered to make family holidays cheaper in August.

The AM accused MPs and journalists of forgetting "which institutions make which decisions under the devolution settlement".

But he then goes on to concede: "Ironically, the solution to this problem may lie in a non-devolved responsibility, namely more effective regulation of the holiday industry to prevent excessive profiteering during school holidays.

"However, as this remains a matter for the UK Parliament it would not be appropriate for me to propose it without first consulting with my MP colleagues. Perhaps they would like to adopt a similar discipline."

Funnily enough, Mr Black then goes on to denounce "the government's madcap identity card scheme", suggesting he won't win the prize for party discipline anytime soon.

Ah yes but my comments on ID cards are already party policy!
Peter Black

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