First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price have today 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 cross-party Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform was set up on 6 October 2021:
To consider the conclusions previously reached by the Committee on Senedd Electoral Reform in the Fifth Senedd as set out in its report Senedd reform: The next steps laid before the Senedd on 10 September 2020; and
By 31 May 2022, to make recommendations for policy instructions for a Welsh Government Bill on Senedd Reform.
The committee will be dissolved following a Plenary debate on its final report.
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.
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 6 Members; and
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, added:
“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for a stronger Welsh democracy and a fairer, more representative Senedd that will look entirely different to the outdated political system at Westminster.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.”
The Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru includes a commitment to: Support plans to reform the Senedd, based on 80 to 100 Members; a voting system, which is as proportional – or more – than the current one and have gender quotas in law. We will support the work of the Senedd Special Purpose Committee and introduce a Senedd reform Bill 12 to 18 months after it reports.
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