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Glyn Davies: Roadmap to more powers in Wales

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"The recent Queen's Speech was very long—too long, in my personal view. I was disappointed to see in that speech a Bill to introduce the deeply illiberal measure of identity cards.

However, like other speakers here, I want to comment on the proposal to enhance the powers of the National Assembly, which led to the White Paper and was the subject of a statement by the Secretary of State for Wales earlier this afternoon.

There are three essential proposals in the White Paper, the first of which has much support across the board.

My political colleague, Lord Griffiths, has described it as the original idea of the body as it was constituted, as a triumph of hope over reason. That is how it has turned out. The accountability of the Government will be greatly enhanced here by the new arrangements.

The second issue is the method of election. I do not want to dwell on this, but I disagree with the Labour Government's proposal on this.

The Secretary of State has defended the indefensible today with great skill and humour, but I believe that he will grow to be ashamed of the stance that he has taken.

He reminded us today of his days as an early Liberal, and in those days, I greatly admired his stand and the way in which he became associated, in my mind, with the pursuit of democracy. I think that he is sacrificing that reputation by pursuing this proposal.

The most significant part is the roadmap to the exercise of law-making powers. This is an interesting proposal, especially for those of us who advocated that the Government will not become truly accountable to the people of Wales until full law-making powers are devolved to the National Assembly in those areas.

That is the view that I have taken; it is not a view that everyone in my party agrees on, nor is it a view that everyone in the Labour Party agrees on. There has been much debate about it in both parties.

This week, I read comments from Ed Balls, who has been quoted in the newspapers as agreeing absolutely with that view.

The position of Mr Balls is important, because it is likely that his mentor, Gordon Brown, will eventually assume the leadership of the Government.

That is, of course, unless the current Secretary of State's ambitions are more successful than Mr Balls's—we cannot be sure of that. Mr Balls may well become a significant player, and it may be that Welsh Labour MPs will prevail upon him to change his views, but I very much hope not.

My point is that it is a view that, in terms of making devolution work, is shared by many people in his party, in mine and other parties too.

I am not going to dismiss the Government's proposal out of hand, although I agree with Helen Mary Jones that it has largely been framed by the interests of the Labour Party rather than any desire to promote devolution in Wales.

The strategy behind it has been deeply flawed, but it is a proposal that we must take seriously. When the Presiding Officer here describes this as: 'law-making powers in all but name' those of us who want to see the sort of arrangements that I want to see must take serious note of what has been put before us.

Had my party won the general election, we would have put forward a referendum, which would have offered the Welsh people full law-making powers.

I have heard other people, including the Secretary of State earlier today, point out one of the other options, which would have been the abolition of the National Assembly.

I believe that more and more people within the Conservative Party and right across the board in Wales want to see us given law-making powers.

If that option had been put—and my view is different to the Secretary of State's—I think that the majority of people might well have chosen that option. However, we are where we are.

I made it absolutely clear that there are many in my party who seek that option, who include the shadow secretary of state and others whom I could name.

I have also made it clear how I would be arguing if there were a referendum. I am repeating what I said before, Dirprwy Lywydd, and I am sorry about that, but when you have interventions from people who have simply not listened to what you have said and have some preordained position, then that is what is going to happen.

There is an element of seeing how this works. I will say this in the Chamber, because the Secretary of State is here and may well have some influence on these things, that, if it turns out to be successful, I hope that they will move towards the sort of law-making powers that Richard proposed rather more quickly that the 2015 date that I have heard mentioned.

As is almost certainly going to happen in four or five years' time, when the Conservative Party becomes the Government of the United Kingdom, it is entirely possible that the Conservative Party will take that view up, because of its logical nature.

The Labour Party also thinks that, because that can be the only possible reason why it has put in the blocking mechanism of this two-thirds majority vote in favour.

I hope that, during the passage of this Bill, the dual mandate proposal and the particular proposal about the two-thirds amendment will both be withdrawn, so that all parties can support it."

"Yr oedd Araith y Frenhines yn ddiweddar yn hir iawn—yn rhy hir, yn fy marn bersonol i.

Yr oeddwn yn siomedig i weld Mesur yn yr araith honno yn cyflwyno'r mesur neilltuol o gul i sefydlu cardiau adnabod.

Fodd bynnag, megis siaradwyr eraill yma, yr wyf am sôn am y cynnig i gynyddu pwerau'r Cynulliad Cenedlaethol, a arweiniodd at y Papur Gwyn ac a oedd yn destun datganiad gan Ysgrifennydd Gwladol Cymru yn gynharach brynhawn heddiw.

Mae tri chynnig hanfodol yn y Papur Gwyn, ac mae llawer o gefnogaeth i'r cyntaf o bob tu. Mae fy nghyfaill gwleidyddol, yr Arglwydd Griffiths, wedi ei ddisgrifio fel y syniad gwreiddiol am y corff fel y'i cyfansoddwyd, gyda gobaith yn drech na rheswm.

Dyna sut y mae pethau wedi troi allan. Caiff atebolrwydd y Llywodraeth ei gynyddu'n fawr yma gan y trefniadau newydd.

Yr ail fater yw'r dull ethol. Nid wyf am dreulio amser ar hwn, ond yr wyf yn anghytuno â chynnig y Llywodraeth Lafur ar hyn.

Mae'r Ysgrifennydd Gwladol wedi amddiffyn yr hyn nad oes modd ei amddiffyn heddiw gyda gallu a hiwmor digamsyniol, ond credaf y bydd ganddo ymhen amser gywilydd o'r safiad y mae wedi ei gymryd.

Atgoffodd ni heddiw o'i ddyddiau fel Rhyddfrydwr ifanc, ac yn y dyddiau hynny, yr oeddwn yn mawr edmygu ei safiad a'r ffordd y daeth yn gysylltiedig, yn fy meddwl i, â'r ymgyrch i ymgyrraedd at ddemocratiaeth.

Credaf ei fod yn aberthu'r enw da hwnnw drwy fynd ar ôl y cynnig hwn Y rhan fwyaf arwyddocaol yw'r map ffordd tuag at arfer pwerau deddfu.

Mae hwn yn gynnig diddorol, yn enwedig i'r rhai hynny ohonom a fu'n dadlau na ddaw'r Llywodraeth yn wirioneddol atebol i bobl Gymru hyd nes y datganolir pwerau deddfu llawn i'r Cynulliad Cenedlaethol yn y meysydd hynny.

Dyna'r farn yr wyf fi wedi ei chymryd; nid yw'n farn y mae pawb yn fy mhlaid yn cytuno â hi, nac ychwaith yn farn y mae pawb yn y Blaid Lafur yn cytuno â hi.

Bu llawer o ddadlau am hyn yn y naill blaid a'r llall.

Yr wythnos hon, darllenais sylwadau gan Ed Balls, sydd wedi cael ei ddyfynnu yn y papurau newydd fel rhywun sy'n cytuno'n llwyr â'r farn honno.

Mae safbwynt Mr Balls yn bwysig, oherwydd mae'n debygol y bydd ei fentor, Gordon Brown, maes o law yn ymgymryd ag arweinyddiaeth y Llywodraeth.

Hynny yw, wrth gwrs, oni bai fod uchelgais yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol cyfredol yn fwy llwyddiannus nag eiddo Mr Balls—ni allwn fod yn sicr o hynny.

Mae'n gwbl bosibl y daw Mr Balls yn chwaraewr o bwys, ac efallai y llwydda Asau Llafur Cymru i'w gael i newid ei farn, ond mawr obeithiaf na fydd hynny'n digwydd.

Fy safbwynt i yw ei bod yn farn, yn nhermau gwneud i ddatganoli weithio, a rennir gan lawer o bobl yn ei blaid ef, fy mhlaid i a phleidiau eraill hefyd.

Nid wyf yn mynd i ddiystyru cynnig y Llywodraeth yn fyrbwyll, er fy mod yn cytuno â Helen Mary Jones ei fod wedi cael ei fframio yn bennaf gan fuddiannau'r Blaid Lafur yn hytrach nag unrhyw awydd i hyrwyddo datganoli yng Nghymru.

Mae'r strategaeth y tu cefn iddo yn hynod wallus, ond mae'n gynnig y mae'n rhaid inni ei gymryd o ddifrif. Pan fydd y Llywydd yma'n disgrifio hyn fel: pwerau deddfu mewn popeth ond enw Rhaid i'r rhai ohonom sydd am weld y math o drefniadau yr wyf fi am eu gweld gymryd sylw difrifol o'r hyn sydd wedi cael ei roi ger ein bron.

Pe bai fy mhlaid i wedi ennill yr etholiad cyffredinol, byddem wedi rhoi refferendwm gerbron, a fyddai wedi cynnig pwerau deddfu llawn i bobl Cymru.

Yr ydym wedi clywed pobl eraill, yn cynnwys yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol yn gynharach heddiw, yn tynnu sylw at un o'r opsiynau eraill, sef diddymu'r Cynulliad Cenedlaethol.

Credaf fod mwy a mwy o bobl yn y Blaid Geidwadol ac yn gyffredinol yng Nghymru am ein gweld yn cael pwerau deddfu.

Pe bai'r opsiwn hwnnw wedi cael ei roi—ac mae fy marn i'n wahanol i farn yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol—credaf ei bod yn bosibl iawn y byddai mwyafrif o bobl wedi dewis yr opsiwn hwnnw. Fodd bynnag, yr ydym lle'r ydym.

Fe'i gwneuthum yn gwbl glir fod llawer yn fy mhlaid i sy'n ceisio'r opsiwn hwnnw, yn eu mysg ysgrifennydd gwladol yr wrthblaid ac eraill y gallwn eu henwi.

Yr wyf hefyd wedi ei gwneud yn glir sut y byddwn i'n dadlau pe ceid refferendwm. Yr wyf yn ailadrodd yr hyn a ddywedais cynt, Ddirprwy Lywydd, ac mae'n ddrwg gennyf am hynny, ond pan geir ymyriadau gan bobl nad ydynt wedi gwrando ar yr hyn yr ydych wedi ei ddweud ac sydd â rhyw safbwynt sydd wedi'i bennu ymlaen llaw, dyna sy'n mynd i ddigwydd.

Mae elfen o weld sut mae hyn yn gweithio. Dywedaf hynny yn y Siambr hon, oherwydd mae'r Ysgrifennydd Gwladol yma ac mae'n gwbl bosibl fod ganddo ryw ddylanwad ar y pethau hyn, ac, os bydd yn llwyddiant yn y pen draw, gobeithiaf y byddant yn symud tuag at y math o bwerau deddfu a gynigiwyd gan Richard dipyn yn gyflymach na'r dyddiad 2015 yr wyf wedi ei glywed yn cael ei grybwyll.

Fel sy'n sicr bron o ddigwydd ymhen pedair neu bum mlynedd, pan ddaw'r Blaid Geidwadol yn Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig, mae'n gwbl bosibl y bydd y Blaid Geidwadol yn mabwysiadu'r farn honno, oherwydd ei natur resymegol.

Mae'r Blaid Lafur hefyd yn credu hynny, oherwydd dyna'r unig reswm posibl pam y mae wedi cynnwys y mecanwaith blocio hwn o fwyafrif o ddwy ran o dair o blaid. Gobeithiaf, yn ystod hynt y Mesur hwn, y bydd y cynnig am fandad deuol a'r cynnig neilltuol am y gwelliant dwy ran o dair ill dau yn cael eu tynnu'n ôl, fel y bydd pob plaid yn gallu ei gefnogi."

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