Archive for March, 2017

Politics in Wales and beyond

Another Scottish referendum

Another Scottish referendum on independence is looming. Nicola Sturgeon announced she wanted the vote before the UK leaves the EU.

First Minister Sturgeon will ask for Scottish parliament’s backing. Although she is 1 short of a majority she is likely to get her way with the support of the Scottish Green MSPs. The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats in the Scottish parliament will vote against.

Such a referendum needs the Westminster parliament’s consent. Terresa May is unlikely to grant such a request until the Brexit negotiations have finished and the UK is out of the EU.

Meanwhile Carwyn Jones responded by saying it was a matter for the Scottish people to decide, but was still of the view the 4 countries of the UK were stronger together.

Leanne Wood was of the view that with Scottish independence Wales needed to have a real conversation amongst itself as to what constitutional future it wanted for itself.



The short bill to allow the government to trigger Article 50 to start the process of leaving the EU was passed by both Houses of Parliament unammended.

Prime Minister May will now get her way of starting the formal process of leaving at the end of March.

Article 50 is a plan for any country that wishes to exit the EU. It was created as part of the Treaty of Lisbon – an agreement signed up to by all EU states which became law in 2009.

Before that treaty, there was no formal mechanism for a country to leave the EU.

Now the real work of negotiating Britain’s exit begins


Bill to protect historic names fails

The historic place names bill fell at its first hurdle when AMs voted against it.

The private members bill proposed by Dr Dai Lloyd to enshrine in our planning laws protection for historic names of houses, farms, fields and the landscape was defeated when Labour decided to vote it down by 28 votes to 25.

All the opposition parties supported the bill.

But the Welsh Government’s Ken Skates said the proposals were not feasible.


Right to Buy to be scrapped

Carl Sergeant The Cabinet secretary with responsibilities for housing introduced a bill scrapping the rights of tenants of public and social housing to exercise the right to buy their homes.

Sergeant said, “The rights will end for new homes not previously let in the social housing sector two months after the Bill becomes law. To ensure that tenants are aware of the effect of the Bill, abolition of rights on existing properties will not take place until at least one year after the Bill receives Royal Assent. All affected tenants of social housing will be informed in writing within two months of Royal Assent.”

Plaid Cymru supported his move but both the Conservatives and UKIP opposed the proposal.

The Conservative housing spokesperson, David Melding said, “this is a very sad day for Wales. After all, nearly 140,000 families have benefitted from the right to buy since 1980 and home ownership is an aspiration that tens of thousands continue to have across Wales. Now, an important route for them will be closed.”


U turn on NICs

It was Harold Wilson that coined the phrase that “a weeks a long time in politics.” Chancellor Philip Hammond would concur.

It took only a week for the Chancellor to drop one of the main planks of his spring budget. The plan to increase National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for self-employed workers became dead in the water.

The move followed a week of heavy criticism from within the ranks of his own party. The pressure clearly got to him and he made an inelegant U-turn.