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Presiding Officer’s response to the publication of the Draft Wales Bill


“Today the Secretary of State has published the draft Wales Bill, a Bill which will significantly change the constitutional settlement for Wales.
 Over the coming weeks I will study the detail of the draft Bill to ensure that it will deliver a durable constitutional settlement for Wales. I look forward to continued constructive dialogue with the Secretary of State, Parliament and Assembly Members during the pre-legislative process on this important constitutional Bill.
I am pleased that the draft Bill addresses the UK Government’s important St. David’s Day commitment to give the Assembly power over its own internal arrangements and electoral matters.
However, I am disappointed with the way in which the move from a Conferred Powers model to a Reserved Powers model has been dealt with in the draft Bill. On this issue, I have made it clear that my support for the Bill is conditional on it meeting three key criteria: clarity, workability, and no roll-back of the Assembly’s existing powers. Unfortunately, I believe the current draft would amount to a backwards step for the National Assembly and would not deliver the lasting constitutional settlement for Wales, and the UK as a whole. If the UK Government proceed as presently proposed, I would anticipate almost immediate calls for yet another Wales Bill, something that none of us wishes to see. I am therefore encouraged by the Secretary of State’s commitment to continued dialogue to achieve a lasting settlement.
This draft Bill will be subject to detailed scrutiny within the Assembly and I encourage civic society to consider and tell us what this might mean for them and the future of the Assembly.
We must ensure that this settlement empowers the Assembly with the tools to deliver effective legislation for the people of Wales, and I look forward to working with partners in a constructive manner to achieve this goal.”
Dame Rosemary Butler AM
Presiding Officer

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