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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK
Labour votes to 'enhance' assembly
Lord Richard
Lord Richard spent two years preparing his report
First Minister Rhodri Morgan has defended the Labour party's decision not to vote to demand for full law-making powers for the Welsh assembly.

On Wednesday, a majority of AMs opted to ask the Westminster government to "enhance" the powers of the assembly.

This does not go as far as the recent Richard Report, which recommended the assembly sought full law-making powers.

Opposition politicians were angered by the vote in favour of the motion, which was passed by 30 to 24.

During the debate, Mr Morgan promised that, if Labour win the next general election, various options for devolution would be set out.

The publication of the Richard Report on the powers of the National Assembly should have been a landmark day for Wales
Mike German

He said this would be "through a further consultation with the people of Wales through a UK government White Paper".

"Those options would not be on whether to enhance our legislative powers, but how."

But Plaid Cymru's Helen Mary Jones said the Richard Report was "the only way forward" for devolution.

"Everything else on the table depends on behind-the-scenes deals with the Westminster government, and we cannot rely on them," she said.

And Liberal Democrat leader Mike German said the Richard Report's findings were in danger of being wasted.

"The publication of the Richard Report on the powers of the National Assembly should have been a landmark day for Wales," he said.

"From where we stand now, the opportunity and optimism is in danger of being squandered."

Meanwhile, Nick Bourne, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, proposed that people in Wales should be asked their opinoin about further devolution in a "preferendum".

"I think options should include independence and abolition," he said.

"The real battle would then be somewhere in the middle."

Assembly reform plan 'flawed'
13 Sep 04  |  Wales
Labour's 'no' to assembly power
03 Aug 04  |  Wales

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