Apologies in advance. I'm returning to the process by which law making power is currently being transferred from the UK Parliament to the National Assembly for Wales. The reason is that last Thursday the Secretary of State for Wales, Paul Murphy introduced yet another complexity into what is an already complex process. Let me explain.
In 2006, the UK Parliament passed a new act by which power is transferred by means of Legislative Competence Orders. All these LCOs do not create any new legislation. They simply transfer the power to make legislation. Proposals for an LCO emanate from the National Assembly, are considered by a specially convened committee in Cardiff Bay, and the Welsh Affairs Committee at Westminster. Things were progressing much as expected, even if rather more slowly than some hoped for. And then last autumn, we had the 'Housing LCO'.
Prior to the 'Housing LCO', what happened was that after proper discussion, they were eventually approved. But on this one, the UK Government (in the person of the Secretary of State) retained a veto over one aspect of the content of the LCO - an entirely new concept. It could not be implemented without his permission. And now the UK Government has introduced another new concept. Read on.
The National Assembly recently proposed that power over the Welsh Language be transferred from Westminster to Cardiff Bay. Committees both ends of the M4 are inviting comments from interested parties to assist with their consideration of it. That's, in effect, two consultation exercises. And then last Thursday, the UK Government (in the person of the Secretary of State) launched its own consultation. That's three consultations going on - all at the same time. Blimey. The Welsh Language LCO will require a forest of trees to produce all the paper needed to facilitate consultation responses.
I'm not going to comment about the wisdom of all this, but I am concerned to promote understanding about how we are governed in Wales. I hope that all those who respond realise that they are not responding to a proposed new law, other than the transfer of the rights to make a new law. The issue is whether new laws concerning the Welsh Language should be made in the National Assembly for Wales, or in the UK Parliament. I hope that clarifies things!!