The Secretary of State for Wales has today published a Green Paper on 'Future Electoral Arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales'. Its a 12 weeks 'consultation paper'. There are several proposals up for consultation.
1) That the National Assembly should continue to have 60 members.
2) That the Assembly electoral boundaries should be changed to allow for 30 rather than 40 Assembly constituencies, coterminous with the new constituencies being introduced for the House of Commons. Its also proposed that if the decision is to retain the current 40 constituencies, the boundaries should be adjusted to equalise the number of voters within each constituency. (to a tolerance of 5%). The Government has a preference for the 30/30 split, though retains an open mind. Personally, I'm not expressing an opinion about this until the consultation period is over.
3)That the ban on candidates standing for a constituency and also taking a place on the 'regional list' should be removed. Now I am very much in favour of this, and considered the ban when introduced by Peter Hain and Rhodri Morgan to be a spiteful, opportunistic exercise in gerrymandering. Needless to say it didn't work. Gerrymandering rarely does.
4)That Westminster politicians should not be permitted to stand for election to the National Assembly - an end to what's known as 'double jobbing'. Have to be an arrangement for individuals wishing to 'transfer'. Wonder what Lord Elis Thomas thinks of this!
Not been much immediate reaction that I've seen. The Welsh Government seem to be suggesting that this issue is a matter for the Assembly. And First Minister has said that the Prime Minister reassured him that there would be no change in opposition to the will of the Welsh Assembly. We will find out in due course whether this is in fact the case. Not sure whether Labour are still advocating the ridiculous suggestion of Peter Hain that there should be 60 elected by FPTP, two from each consituency.
Its also interesting that the Assembly Conservative Group is in favour of the status quo. At least that's what one of the leading members of the Group made clear on yesterday's Politics Show. Another one to watch.
I wonder how much interest this matter will generate amongst the public!