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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 11:59 GMT
Wales@Westminster newslog

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

Thursday, 08 March

Power struggle

posted by David | 0905 BST |

Was the Welsh assembly a rushed job? A senior member of Tony Blair's cabinet seems to think so.

Jack Straw, leader of the House of Commons, has suggested that the devolution settlement for Wales was hampered by the speed in which it was delivered. Reassuringly, he says the government could have done a better job if it had more time.

Equally reassuringly, he says the new-look House of Lords will avoid the problems associated with devolution.

Mr Straw, who as home secretary chaired an important committee on devolution in the first Blair government, told MPs: "We will be able to do a better job than was done on devolution, which happened much more rapidly, not in 98 years, or even in 98 months.

"As someone who took part, in opposition and then in government, in the discussions on devolution, I realise that speed was necessary because of the pent-up feeling for devolution, but if we had had more time, we could have done a better job."

He was responding to the Wrexham Labour MP Ian Lucas who warned that the lesson of devolution was that there would be immediate pressure from a new-look House of Lords to beef its powers, as there had been from the Welsh assembly.

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