Assembly 'needs more AMs'

The Assembly's Presiding Officer says the institution should be renamed a Parliament and should have 80 instead of the current 60 members. Rosemary Butler has set out her thoughts in evidence to the independent Silk Commission.

Presiding Officer: More members would allow 'specialised' AMs

"I strongly believe that we need eighty members here, not sixty members" says Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler.

"If you take the government out, it's just leaving 40 members to deal with legislation, bringing the government to account".

"If we have more members, it allows members to specialise - and that's what I would like to see".

Video: watch the full interview in this week's edition of Sharp End.**

Presiding Officer calls for 80-member Welsh Parliament

The Assembly's Presiding Officer says the institution should be renamed a Parliament and should have 80 instead of the current 60 members. Rosemary Butler has set out her thoughts in evidence to the independent Silk Commission which is considering the future powers of the Assembly.

Given the weight of responsibility resting with the institution, and the unavoidable scale of the workload faced by Members, I am in no doubt that the number of Assembly Members should be increased from 60 to 80.

– Rosemary Butler, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales

She says the changes are needed to ensure laws made in Wales are properly scrutinised. And she says it's time for clear legal recognition that Cardiff Bay has the final say on decisions made which affect Wales.

The pace of constitutional change in Wales has been dramatic and the institution today is very different to the one envisaged by the UK Parliament as recently as 2006.

There should be a fundamental recognition that the Assembly, not the UK Parliament, is best placed to determine certain matters for itself and should not be subject to unnecessary restriction.

– Rosemary Butler, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales

The Presiding Officer also calls for the end of much of the Welsh Secretary's involvement in Assembly matters in particular the requirement that the Secretary of State should present the UK Government's legislative programme to AMs as happens now. She says it

'may have been appropriate when the UK Parliament played a significant role in the Assembly’s ability to make laws but, to me, is anomalous today.'

Advertisement