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Melding: Labour lacks confidence for Welsh political change

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"The Conservative group set out its concerns and reservations in the amendments listed in annex D of the report, and I will not trouble the Assembly by repeating them here, but I will emphasise some things.

I am grateful to my colleagues on the committee and all the officials who helped us. I also note the constructive way in which we focused upon those issues on which we may get agreement.

Other issues were pretty much left out of the picture, although I will refer to them in my general remarks about the White Paper. The things that are, rightly, welcomed, are, for example, the executive/legislative split, which will make the form of government in Wales much more akin to the Westminster or British model.

On the wider powers in secondary legislation, I can see no problem with that. It is clearly not a constitutional innovation, but an extension of existing practice.

Also, greater co-operation with Westminster has not been mentioned yet, but in terms of scrutiny and even joint working on Bills in draft, that seems to me to be a proper way to develop the National Assembly.

However, some of the logical bridges have not been crossed. I believe that we should move immediately to a referendum on the issue of primary powers and settle the question once and for all.

The Labour Party's lack of confidence is rather curious and probably demonstrates the divisions within its own ranks rather than a lack of confidence in the people of Wales.

The Orders in Council route is potentially confusing; its chief attraction for the Labour Party is that, in its view, it avoids the necessity of calling a referendum. Yet if the Orders in Council process works, it will amount to primary powers. Indeed, the only way that it can work is if the Secretary of State more or less agrees to all the requests for Orders in Council.

This was certainly the view of most of the witnesses that gave evidence. We have an odd structure in the Orders in Council proposal; it is a curious case of lamb masquerading as mutton, which is a very un-Welsh thing to do.

The role of the Secretary of State is profoundly confused. On what grounds could he decline a request for an Order in Council? This will be a critical constitutional question.

If he is not removed from the process in terms of denying requests on policy grounds, and still has the power to deny a request on the grounds of policy, then sooner or later Cardiff and Westminster will be at loggerheads, and this will be deeply damaging for the devolution project.

Then there is the great silence on the question of regional candidates not being able to contest constituencies. I know why we did not address that in the committee, and I agree that we should not have looked at it, but I will not be so polite in this debate.

This is designed to be highly disruptive to the opposition parties. The influential Institute of Welsh Affairs has only been able to identify one other country that uses the additional member system and has attempted this exclusion—Ukraine. Not content with this nobbling policy, the Ukranian Government then proceeded to poison the leader of the opposition.

As Chairman of the catering sub-committee I assure my colleagues in the opposition parties that the canteen has been put on a strychnine alert. The dark rumour going around that Rhodri visited the kitchens yesterday is being investigated. I was going to call for a formal inquiry, but we do not have the mechanism to do that until the Government gets a motion through this place.

However, is not stopping candidates having the right to election by the means that they choose a mean and meagre thing to do? It is designed to hurt the democratic process, and it demonstrates the Labour Party's fury that devolution has given Wales a more competitive political system.

That is what has caused this policy from Labour, and it encapsulates Rhodri Morgan's leadership. We would not have had this miserable policy proposed by the likes of Ron Davies—he had far too much generosity of heart not to see what is needed to foster stable institutions. When I look at the First Minister, I am reminded of Goethe's devastating judgment: this great epoch meets a petty generation."

"Nododd grwp y Ceidwadwyr ei bryderon a'i amheuon yn y diwygiadau a nodir yn atodiad D yr adroddiad, ac ni fyddaf yn blino'r Cynulliad drwy eu hailadrodd yma, ond pwysleisiaf rai pethau.

Yr wyf yn ddiolchgar i'm cyd-Aelodau ar y pwyllgor a'r holl swyddogion a'n helpodd. Nodaf hefyd y ffordd adeiladol y bu inni ganolbwyntio ar y materion hynny y gallwn gael cytundeb arnynt o bosibl. Anwybyddwyd materion eraill i raddau helaeth, er y cyfeiriaf atynt yn fy sylwadau cyffredinol am y Papur Gwyn.

Y pethau a groesewir, a hynny'n briodol, yw, er enghraifft, y rhaniad rhwng y weithrediaeth a'r ochr ddeddfwriaethol, a fydd yn sicrhau bod y math o lywodraeth a geir yng Nghymru yn llawer mwy tebyg i'r model yn San Steffan neu'r model Prydeinig.

O ran y pwerau ehangach mewn is-ddeddfwriaeth, ni welaf unrhyw broblem. Yn amlwg, nid yw'n arloesedd cyfansoddiadol, ond mae'n ymestyn arfer presennol. Hefyd, ni chrybwyllwyd mwy o gydweithredu â San Steffan eto, ond o ran craffu a hyd yn oed gydweithio ar Fesurau ar ffurf ddrafft, ymddengys i mi fod honno yn ffordd briodol o ddatblygu'r Cynulliad Cenedlaethol.

Fodd bynnag, ni chroeswyd rhai o'r pontydd rhesymegol. Credaf y dylem gynnal refferendwm ar unwaith ar bwerau sylfaenol ac ateb y cwestiwn unwaith ac am byth.

Mae diffyg hyder y Blaid Lafur braidd yn rhyfedd ac yn dangos y rhaniadau o fewn ei rhengoedd ei hun, fwy na thebyg, yn hytrach na diffyg hyder ym mhobl Cymru.

Gallai'r llwybr i ddefnyddio Gorchmynion yn y Cyfrin Gyngor fod yn ddryslyd; y prif beth sy'n denu'r Blaid Lafur iddo yw ei fod yn osgoi'r angen i gynnal refferendwm, yn ei barn hi.

Ond os bydd proses y Gorchmynion yn y Cyfrin Gyngor yn gweithio, bydd yn golygu pwerau sylfaenol. Yn wir, yr unig ffordd y gall weithio yw os bydd yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol fwy neu lai yn cytuno i'r holl geisiadau am Orchmynion yn y Cyfrin Gyngor.

Yn sicr, dyna farn y rhan fwyaf o'r tystion a roddodd dystiolaeth. Mae strwythur rhyfedd gennym yn y cynnig o ran Gorchmynion yn y Cyfrin Gyngor; mae'n achos hynod o oen bach yn esgus bod yn hen ddafad, nad yw'n beth Cymreig iawn i'w wneud.

Mae rôl yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol wedi'i drysu'n fawr. Ar ba sail y gallai wrthod cais am Orchymyn yn y Cyfrin Gyngor? Bydd hwn yn gwestiwn cyfansoddiadol allweddol.

Os na chaiff ei symud o'r broses o ran gwrthod ceisiadau ar sail polisi, a bod ganddo'r pwer o hyd i wrthod cais ar sail polisi, yna yn hwyr neu'n hwyrach bydd Caerdydd a San Steffan yn benben â'i gilydd, a bydd hyn yn niweidiol iawn i'r prosiect datganoli.

Wedyn mae tawelwch mawr o ran y ffaith na all ymgeiswyr rhanbarthol ymladd etholaethau. Gwn pam nad ymdriniwyd â hynny gennym yn y pwyllgor, a chytunaf na ddylem fod wedi'i ystyried, ond ni fyddaf mor gwrtais yn y ddadl hon.

Mae hyn wedi'i gynllunio i fod yn aflonyddgar iawn i'r gwrthbleidiau. Dim ond un wlad arall y gallai'r Sefydliad Materion Cymreig dylanwadol ei nodi sy'n defnyddio'r system aelodau ychwanegol ac sydd wedi ceisio gweithredu'r gwaharddiad hwn—Ukrain. Nid oedd Llywodraeth Ukrain yn fodlon ar y polisi progio hwn ac aeth ymlaen i wenwyno arweinydd yr wrthblaid.

Fel Cadeirydd yr is-bwyllgor arlwyo, sicrhaf fy nghyd-Aelodau yn y gwrthbleidiau fod rhybudd strycnin yn y ffreutur. Ymchwilir i'r si sydd ar led i Rhodri ymweld â'r gegin ddoe. Yr oeddwn yn mynd i alw am ymchwiliad ffurfiol, ond nid yw'r dull gennym i wneud hynny hyd nes bod y Llywodraeth yn pasio cynnig yn y lle hwn.

Fodd bynnag, onid yw atal ymgeiswyr rhag cael yr hawl i gael eu hethol drwy'r ffordd y byddant yn ei dewis yn beth cas i'w wneud? Mae wedi'i gynllunio i wneud niwed i'r broses ddemocrataidd, a dengys ddicter y Blaid Lafur bod datganoli wedi rhoi system wleidyddol fwy cystadleuol i Gymru.

Dyna'r hyn sydd wedi achosi'r polisi hwn gan Lafur, ac mae'n crynhoi arweinyddiaeth Rhodri Morgan. Ni fyddai pobl fel Ron Davies wedi cynnig y polisi diflas hwn—yr oedd yn rhy hael i beidio â gweld yr hyn yr oedd ei angen i feithrin sefydliadau sefydlog. Pan edrychaf ar y Prif Weinidog, cofiaf farn ddeifiol Goethe: mae'r oes bwysig hon yn cyfarfod â mân-genhedlaeth."

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