Page last updated at 06:51 GMT, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Welsh AMs expected to support powers referendum vote

By Carl Roberts
BBC Wales political reporter

Senedd, Cardiff Bay
Some campaigners say there is no appetite for increased powers

Welsh assembly members are expected to support a "trigger" vote on a referendum on further powers later.

Last week, the assembly government secured the support of opposition parties for the vote.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had threatened to abstain over concerns about holding a vote the same day as an assembly election.

The first minister says they will work to accommodate those concerns. The vote would pave the way for a referendum.

Both Labour and Plaid Cymru are committed to holding a referendum on full law-making powers in devolved areas such as health, education and agriculture by May 2011 as part of their "One Wales" coalition agreement.

If Tuesday's "trigger" vote is passed, First Minister Carwyn Jones will notify Welsh Secretary Peter Hain of the assembly's wishes within 14 days by letter.

Grass roots

Mr Hain would then have 120 days - or until 9 June - to lay a detailed draft order for a referendum, to be voted on by both houses of parliament.

The assembly government needs the support of 40 of the 60 assembly members to win the vote and set in motion a process resulting in a referendum on further powers.

Campaigners against further powers say there is no appetite amongst voters for increased powers for politicians in Cardiff Bay.

Rachael Banner, a spokesperson for True Wales, an organisation set up to oppose more powers said: "We have to ask ourselves how these law-making powers will benefit the people of Wales, because actually the demand is not coming from the grass roots."

She told BBC Wales' Politics Show programme: "No one was battering down the doors of the All Wales Convention - it's not coming from the people of Wales it's coming from the political establishment."

The chair of Tomorrow's Wales, a cross-party group set up to promote further powers for the assembly, welcomed the news that AM's from all parties had indicated support ahead of the "trigger" vote.

Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan said: "This means that AMs have put the needs of the people before party politics. It sets the scene for the consensus-building approach that can deliver a resounding Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum".

You can watch the debate live on the BBC's Democracy Live service from 1615 GMT.

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17 Nov 09 |  Wales politics
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27 Oct 09 |  Wales politics

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