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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Labour's 'no' to assembly power
Welsh assembly
Labour Party members will vote on the policy next month
Labour Party members have rejected calls for the Welsh assembly to be given full law-making powers - unless a referendum favoured the move.

BBC Wales has learned that the group's rank and file have opposed the main recommendation of the Richard report by a majority of two to one.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan has now suggested giving the assembly more power to vary legislation passed at Westminster as an alternative.

The party will publish its own policy document on the report on Wednesday.

Welsh Labour has spent four months consulting its grass roots on the assembly's future.

It found strong opposition to calls for the assembly to be given full law-making powers - the main recommendation of the Richard commission.

Among party branches that responded to the consultation process, twice as many were against full law-making powers as supported it.

It was closer among general committees - made up of the activists who run constituency parties - although there was still a majority against allowing the assembly to make its own laws.

But when the party asked its members whether they would support full law-making powers if there were a refendum first, a majority agreed.

In March, the commission chaired by Lord Ivor Richard recommended the assembly should be given primary law-making powers by 2011.

It also suggested an extra 20 AMs and a change in the electoral system to the single transferable vote.

Parliament for Wales

On Monday two key Labour figures and former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley say they would accept a "compromise" plan on more powers for the Welsh assembly.

Environment Minister Carwyn Jones and MP Paul Flynn, who want full law-making powers for the assembly, said they were ready to accept the solution mooted by Mr Morgan.

Dafydd Wigley, the former Plaid president, also said Mr Morgan's proposal could speed up the process of creating a parliament for Wales.

He even suggested that "this could be more radical than what Richard proposes".

The Welsh Labour leadership says Wednesday's policy document will "lay out the route map" for the possible transfer of more powers from Westminster to Cardiff.

More than half Wales's 34 Labour MPs say they'd oppose any significant transfer of power without a referendum.

Party members will vote on the policy at a special conference next month.


SEE ALSO:
Wigley backs assembly deal
02 Aug 04  |  Wales
Call for more AMs and powers
31 Mar 04  |  Wales
Richard report and the reaction
31 Mar 04  |  Wales
Should the Welsh assembly get more powers?
31 Mar 04  |  Have Your Say


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