REFERENDUM IS DEMANDED ON PLANS TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF AMs

There could be three "Vaughan Gethings" representing Cardiff South and Penarth in the future

There could be no less than three “Vaughan Gethings” representing local voters in the future – under proposals to increase the number of Assembly Members from the present 60 to 87 .

The campaign group True Wales is demanding a referendum be held on proposals under discussion to increase the number of members of the Welsh Assembly from the present 60 to no fewer than 87.

A leading Cardiff academic, Professor Roger Scully,  says it’s “possible” that the political parties in the Assembly may agree to increase the number of AMs – despite several re-assurances in given in the past that this wouldn’t happen.

It’s claimed that the present 60 AMs just can’t cope with the amount of work they now have to do . The Presiding Officer Elin Jones (Plaid Cymru) says the Assembly is currently “overstretched ” .

THE PROPOSAL

The Welsh Assembly may well have to find seats for 87 AMs

The Welsh Assembly may well have to find seats for 27 more AMs bringing to total to 87

The new proposals for increasing the number of Assembly Members  – and creating what’s claimed would be a “more effective and accountable” Welsh Assembly –  have just been published by Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre and Electoral Reform Society Cymru in a report called “Reshaping the Senedd”.

PROPOSED CONSTITUENCY CHANGES

Instead it’s proposed that Wales should adopt the same revised constituency-boundaries for Welsh Assembly constituencies as those proposed by the Boundary Commission for Parliamentary constituencies. That then that would create 29 Assembly constituencies in Wales. one of two possible alternative electoral systems for electing Assembly Members .

 The present UK Parliamentary boundaries have Penarth within the Labour-dominated Cardiff South and Penarth constituency. The Boundary Commission proposes placing Penarth in a new "Vale of Glamorgan East" constituency

The present UK Parliamentary boundaries have Penarth within the Labour-dominated Cardiff South and Penarth constituency. The Boundary Commission proposes placing Penarth in a new “Vale of Glamorgan East” constituency which could have not only 1 MP but 3 AMs

If the Boundary Commission’s proposed new constituency boundaries for Parliamentary constituencies the MP elections are also adopted for the elections of Assembly Members, (and – so far –  there’s no sign that they will be)  then as far as Assembly elections were concerned Penarth would be placed in what would be a new Vale of Glamorgan East constituency with 3 AMs.

The  existing Cardiff South and Penarth Assembly constituency – which is currently held by Vaughan Gething would disappear –  with most of it going into a new Cardiff South constituency.

PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE VOTING SYSTEM

Voters arrivng at St Augustine's Church Hall in May this year to fill in two different ballot papers for the election of Assembly Members

Voters arrivng at St Augustine’s Church Hall in May this year to fill in two different ballot papers for the election of Assembly Members for Cardiff South and Penarth and for South Wales Central . In future they may be just one ballot paper – and one constituency – Vale of Glamorgan East

The new proposals involve  scrapping the two existing systems of electing AMs  (- the  “First Past the Post” system and the so-called “Additional Member system ) and would bring to an end the hassle voters have in filling in two different ballot papers to elect AMs.

Instead it’s proposed that Assembly Members should – in future – be elected by one or other of two suggested methods :-

  • Single Transferable Vote (STV) –  A total of 87 members elected in 29 constituencies . Each constituency would be represented by 3 members. [Professor Scully has said that the Labour Party “would, in nearly all political scenarios, do very well out of STV in Wales”]
  • Open List System – A total of 87 members elected in 29 constituencies. Each constituency would be represented by 3 members.
Rachel Banner of True Wales says AMs must put any proposals to increase their numbers to a referendum

Rachel Banner of True Wales says AMs must put any proposals to increase their numbers to a referendum

Activist Rachel Banner of the True Wales campaign group says it would be “entirely illegitimate” to enlarge the size of the Welsh Assembly and create seats for 27 more AMs without first obtaining the assent of the people of Wales in a  national referendum.

She says the arguments for enlarging the number of AMs in the Welsh Assembly must be put to the electorate .

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17 Responses to REFERENDUM IS DEMANDED ON PLANS TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF AMs

  1. Christopher David says:

    America population c 320 million has 100 senators.. Wales following English example and empire building for the in-crowd.

  2. Ann Other says:

    There used (not that long ago) to be none of them. I don’t recall Wales being ungovernable. Quite the opposite. Work expands to fill the time of the number of people available to do it, perhaps.

  3. Frank Evans says:

    Shame on then. The gravy train just gets longer. This is your money they are wasting

  4. Daft o dull says:

    Making way for more snouts in the trough.

    Did they learn nothing from Brexit and the MPs expenses scandal.

    If they are too busy then I suggest they just let the MP for the area deal with the load that they already cope with.

  5. confused.com says:

    Why???
    What is there to do to warrant this increase?

    • Peter Church says:

      More friends of Dorothy (sorry I meant Labour) that need a well paid job at your expense.

  6. AK says:

    We don’t need more AMs.

    We need the ones that we have to stop commenting on minor local issues at every photo opportunity, and to start dealing with the bigger issues affecting Wales.

  7. david kerslake says:

    Get rid of the lot of them . Cry baby carwen is doing everything in his power to stop brexit . They have”nt got a clue what they are doing look at the health ministers we have had hutt drakeford and now gething they hane”nt got a clue what they are doing. Moved the ambulance response figures around to make them selves look good. They just do what they like don’t ask the public or if they do they don’t take any notice of what we say. Just like the VOGBC.What can we waste money on next.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

  8. john64 says:

    So, the Assembly wants to increase its numbers but at what cost? Is this the same Assembly that wanted to cut the number of local councillors at an estimated saving of £10m over 10 years. If my sums are right to “balance the books” each additional AM plus staff and other costs should earn £37k a year. Likely?

  9. Chris Franks says:

    How about a referendum on cutting 600+ Lords costing £300 a day plus subsidies? If they all turn up that’s £180,000 for a few hours ‘work’.

  10. Christopher David says:

    Yes Indeed Chris Franks, The Independent reported 820 in 2015. Parliament UK reported 760 in 2016 but we know parliament lies. Scrap the lot. Have an elected chamber. To be on a par with the US Senate we’d need circa 22 elected members. Then cut the number of AM’s and councils.

  11. Ian Symonds says:

    It is not a like to like comparison comparing the work of the 60 members of the Welsh Assembly with that of 100 US Senators. The US Senate is the upper chamber and there is no equivalent in the Welsh Assembly. Primary legislation in the US is conducted in the House of Representatives where there are 435 Congressmen/women. Each Senator and Congressman/woman is allocated an annual budget of about $1 million from which they can fund a support team of up to 18 staff, researchers, lobbyists etc. Our MPs and Assembly members are allocated a fraction of that and I cannot imagine them having a back-up staff of more than 3 or 4 people. The Senate and House of Representatives in Washington are responsible for federal matters and the remainder is the responsibility of the state governments, all 50 states have greater powers than the Welsh Assembly from the largest (California pop. 38 million) to the smallest (Wyoming pop. 580,000). Each state legislature has its own Senate and House of Representatives and in Wyoming’s case (a state with a fifth of the population of Wales) there are 20 Senators and 60 Congressmen/women.

  12. Christopher David says:

    Indeed My Symonds its not like for like, I’m indebted, pesky facts eh! Welsh AM’s are backed up by 22 unitary authorities, 5,417 civil servants (Wales alone), 650 MP’s (where the real power lies- oh and their 439,000 civil servants) 800 plus unelected Lords (a firm number is difficult partly because there are usually some suspended for things like expense fiddling or are in prison). This to “run” a country with a population not much bigger that some English / Scottish unitary authorities. I think “you’ll have a hard time convincing people we need more AM’s, but there is great support for less, or none.

    • Big Davey says:

      When Rhodri had a bonfire with the WDA, perhaps this was prophetic.

      About time we had a bonfire with the Welsh Assembly. I cannot stomach to call it a government because it has such little power and is incapable of delivering anything better than the previous regime even though it costs a lot more.

  13. Christopher David says:

    Agreed with the observation the WDA could and has delivered. It did need major reform. It needed a public private partnership running it with experienced business people at the helm. I declare an interested as former chairman of Mae Awdurdod Datblygu Cymru Ltd 🙂 It was of course the WG via the hapless Edwina Hart that put a stop to that. A certain irony!

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