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Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 05:56 GMT 06:56 UK
Archbishop attacks assembly power
Senedd
The Queen officially opens the Senedd on Tuesday
The Archbishop of Wales has criticised new law-making powers which are coming into force in the third Welsh Assembly Government.

Dr Barry Morgan said the third assembly term begins with a "tortuous and convoluted" system of legislating which does not go far enough.

The Queen will officially open the Senedd on Tuesday.

The assembly government said Archbishop Morgan was entitled to his opinion on the 2006 Government of Wales Act.

Assembly members have been given new powers to make their own laws.

The legislation also provided for an eventual move to full law-making powers but only after a referendum.

But Archbishop Morgan, while recognising that the Act gives Wales more legal bite and authority than before, said it did not go far enough.

Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan
The Archbishop criticised the 'clumsy method of governance'

He said the assembly should have primary legislative power in all the fields like education and health which are devolved to it.

He criticised a "cumbersome and clumsy method of governance" which entails the Welsh assembly petitioning the Secretary of State for Wales, who in turn asks the Government for time to introduce Orders in Council in Parliament, to give the Assembly powers to pass legislation within the boundaries of each order.

The church leader called it a "rather a demeaning way of setting about things".

He added: "It is a very tortuous process, even when the governments in London and Cardiff are of the same political hue. If they are not, relationships could be fraught and the governance of Wales would suffer as a result.

"If Wales, like Scotland, is mature enough to have a legislature it ought to be responsible for law making itself and not have to petition the Secretary of State and Westminster for the right to do so," Dr Morgan added.

He also criticised the assembly government for not publishing a guide to explain the new Act's implications to the people of Wales.

Dr Morgan said the movement Cymru Yfory had taken it on itself to produce a guide, as an act of public service.

'Raise awareness'

A spokesman for the assembly government said: "Devolution is an evolutionary process and the new Act opens an exciting chapter for devolution in Wales allowing the National Assembly to pass laws, which would have previously had to go through the UK parliament.

"We are about to embark on the use of the new Government of Wales Act machinery for acquiring new powers and the test of their workability will now come through practice.

"We have worked hard to raise awareness of how this will benefit the people of Wales."

The spokesman welcomed Dr Morgan and Cymru Yfory's efforts to build on work to further raise awareness of the new Act.




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"The system... is very complicated and tortuous"





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