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Friday, 24 November, 2000, 13:02 GMT
'Welsh' census controversy reignites
Rhodri Morgan, First Minister
Rhodri Morgan said the changes would cost too much
A fresh row has erupted over census forms being amended with a tick-box to let people register as "Welsh".

Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas has called on the chief census administrator for Wales to resign over his failure to secure a Welsh tick-box on next year's form.

He said that that census chief Deryk Williams - who has defended his actions - should now "carefully consider his position".

Rhodri Glyn Thomas
Rhodri Glyn Thomas: 'Consider position'
"The fact of the matter is, we've been left with a census form which doesn't allow us the opportunity to say we're Welsh," Mr Thomas said.

"It's a very important issue for many Welsh people, and I think it is a matter where somebody has to take responsibility for this failure."

But Mr Williams has suggested that it is a lack of political stopping the census form for next year from being amended to enable people in Wales to register as "Welsh".

Speaking on BBC Radio Cymru's Post Cyntaf, he refused to resign and said that had politicians pressed earlier for a Welsh tick-box, then administrators would more than likely have listened.

Political will

When asked if it was now too late to change the form, Mr Williams said the matter is now in the hands of Tony Blair.

"The Prime Minister said three weeks ago that there would be no change, and he doesn't change his mind that often," he said.

Mr Williams insisted he did raise the issue of the Welsh tick box with census bosses in London in July - four months after his appointment.

It became clear, he added, that there would be opposition to the absence of a Welsh tick box and that he brought it to the attention of the census headquarters.

"In the end, it was politicians in Cardiff and London who made the decision not to have a special box on the Welsh census form."

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See also:

31 Oct 00 | Wales
Welsh 'hurt' by census omission
30 Oct 00 | Wales
Census campaign's protest
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