A way forward for Senedd reform

Wednesday 11th May 2022 3:40 pm
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First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price have this week set out a way forward for Senedd reform.

They want Senedd reform to be implemented in time for the next election in 2026, even if some of the changes are introduced on an interim basis.

They have set out a joint position statement in a letter to Huw Irranca-Davies, the chair of the cross-party Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform. It is designed to support the committee’s work to make recommendations, which will shape a Senedd Reform Bill.

The committee must publish its report by 31 May. It will then be debated and voted on by the Senedd.

The joint position statement is the result of ongoing discussions between the First Minister and the Leader of Plaid Cymru, as part of the Co-operation Agreement.

It states:

The Senedd should have 96 Members.

It should be elected using closed proportional lists with integrated statutory gender quotas and mandatory zipping.

Seats should be allocated to parties using the D’Hondt formula.

The 2026 Senedd election should use the final 32 UK Parliament constituencies proposed by the Boundary Commission for Wales once it has concluded its 2023 Parliamentary Review.

These constituencies should be paired to create 16 Senedd constituencies. Each constituency should elect six Members.

A full boundary review should be instigated in this Senedd term and its recommendations should take effect from the subsequent Senedd election.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The case for Senedd reform has been made. We now need to get on with the hard work to create a modern Senedd, which reflects the Wales we live in today. A Parliament that truly works for Wales.

“The joint position statement we are publishing today will help support the important work of the cross-party Special Purpose Committee to move Senedd reform forwards.”

Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru, said: “These reforms will lay the foundations for a stronger Welsh democracy and a fairer, more representative Senedd that will look entirely different to the outdated political system at Westminster.

“A stronger, more diverse, more representative Senedd will have a greater capacity to perform its primary purpose of making a positive difference to the lives of the people of Wales.”

Responding to the joint letter, Rhys ab Owen MS from Plaid Cymru said: “This agreement is historic. Not only does it pave the way for a stronger Senedd with a greater ability to make a difference to the lives of people across our country, it will also boost our democracy - making it fairer and more representative.

“Some of Plaid Cymru’s key manifesto commitments will now be met. We will have a stronger Senedd with 96 members elected through a proportional electoral voting system - gender-balanced in law by the next election in 2026.

“It’s not about more politicians. It’s about super-powering our parliament – making it fit to represent our people and reflective of all the voices and aspirations of Welsh society.”

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