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Plaid doubts Welsh Govt's call for parity with Scots

Despite Carwyn Jones' position that Wales should be offered all the extra powers being given to Scotland, Plaid Cymru's claiming that the Welsh Government isn't even actively seeking the power over fracking that Scotland already has.

The people of Wales should have the power to decide on licensing for fracking in their communities. Plaid Cymru wants Wales to have responsibility over fracking so that we can introduce a moratorium on a process that carries a host of unknown risks for the environment and public health. The Scottish Government has made this happen there, but unfortunately the Welsh Government has done absolutely nothing to stand up for Wales’ interests.

It is now clear that the Labour Government has not made any representations to the UK Government for these powers to be devolved which suggests that Labour sees no need to challenge Westminster’s policy of promoting and encouraging fracking in Wales.

– Llyr Gruffydd AM, Plaid Cymru

The vow to Scotland's been kept, claims Cameron

Major new powers for the Scottish Government and Parliament will be spelt out today. They're the result of the "vow" made by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in the final days of the Scottish independence referendum campaign, as they sought to save the UK at a time when polls were suggesting that Scots might vote to leave the union.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for Wales to be offered the same powers as Scotland. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The three leaders committed their parties to enacting the new powers after the Westminster election but they also promised to publish the details of the legislation before Burns Night, on 25 January. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for Wales to be offered the same powers and the UK Government is aiming to publish a cross party agreement before St David's Day on 1 March.

The Prime Minister will be in Scotland today and will meet the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The SNP leader has already said that the cross-party agreement for Scotland on which the legislation will be based does not amount to Home Rule. She claims that's what Scots were promised if they voted against independence. Mr Cameron is expected to make a speech challenging her version of events.

"In September the people of Scotland came out in record numbers to decide the future of the United Kingdom. They voted clearly and decisively to keep our family of nations together. But a ‘no’ vote did not mean ‘no change’.

The leaders of the other main political parties and I promised extensive new powers for the Scottish Parliament – a vow – with a clear process and timetable.

We said we’d get cross-party agreement by St. Andrew’s Day – and we did. We said draft legislation would be published by Burns Night – and here we are, three days before the celebrations start, with those clauses before us."

– Prime Minister David Cameron MP

The Prime Minister will claim that whoever forms the UK Government after May 7th, these new powers are guaranteed. He'll argue that the Scottish Parliament will determine how 60% of public money is spent in in Scotland and for the first time most of the money spent by the Scottish Government will come from taxes raised in Scotland. The package will include control of part of the welfare state, worth £2.5 billion.

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More powers for Wales and Scotland pledges Shadow Scottish Secretary

Labour's Shadow Scottish Secretary tells our Political Editor Adrian Masters that 'in the first year of power [Labour] will be passing more powers for Scotland and for Wales.'

Margaret Curran is due to speak at an event in the National Assembly for Wales organised by the Institute of Welsh Affairs. She's expected to promise that if Labour wins next year's UK Election it 'will not take the Union for granted.'

And she's due to acknowledge that September's independence referendum has been a 'wake-up call' for those who think the United Kingdom's nations are stronger together.

Salmond pledges Welsh economic ties if Scotland says 'yes' to independence

An independent Scotland would establish formal economic links with Wales, the Scottish First Minister has promised. Alex Salmond has pledged to create a 'Welsh-Scottish Economic Forum' if there's a 'Yes' vote in September's referendum. The SNP leader said,

The SNP values our friendship and long-standing relationship with Wales. Independence for Scotland offers us all a chance to rebalance the economy of these islands and to do so in a way that ensures we can all benefit from our strengths and resources.

Following a Yes vote this September, the Scottish Government will seek to build on this relationship by establishing a special economic forum to ensure that we maximise opportunities for business and trade between Scotland and Wales.

– Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland

The commitment came following a meeting with Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood during her visit to Scotland this week. She says it supports her argument that Scottish independence is 'in Wales' economic, social and political interests.' She added,

The commitment to building closer economic ties between our two countries has been demonstrated by First Minister Salmond's intentions to establish a joint economic forum between Wales and Scotland.

Such a forum could bring together our businesses and universities to collaborate on a range of economic opportunities such as renewable energy projects and natural resources.

Our countries enjoy a strong relationship and following a 'Yes' vote in September this will be renewed and strengthened further.

– Leanne Wood AM, Plaid Cymru leader

Welsh MP's protest over committee 'abuse'

Newport West MP Paul Flynn has walked out in protest from a Commons committee after accusing the chair of turning its enquiry into a political 'stunt.'

MPs were questioning the head of the UK Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake about the service's role in the Scottish independence referendum debate.

Paul Flynn claimed he was being 'silenced' and that the Public Administration Committee session was an attempt by its chair, Bernard Jenkin to 'embarrass the Scottish parliament and the idea of devolution.'

The two men had locked horns on a different matter during a session of the committee last week. The video below shows the latest exchange and Paul Flynn stating that he'll leave the hearing. He's since confirmed that he left shortly afterwards.

Welsh politicians urged to fight independence

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies is urging fellow Assembly Members to be more vocal about the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom. Ahead of a debate in the Senedd tomorrow, the Opposition leader said 'some senior Welsh politicians have been reluctant' to make the case for the UK.

September’s referendum on Scottish independence is a major threat to a union, which has been a major factor in the economic success of the UK nations.

I hope that all politicians who believe in the union will take the opportunity to argue for it and actively make the case to protect the UK from separatist wishful thinking that the grass might be greener.

– Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Opposition
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