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'Positive reasons' for free vote on Syria says Shadow minister

A member of Labour's Shadow Cabinet has rejected claims that the party's leadership has mishandled its position on military action in Syria.

There has been intense criticism of Jeremy Corbyn for writing to Labour MPs setting out his position before the Shadow Cabinet had reached an agreement.

He'd also earlier indicated that he wouldn't allow a free vote - where MPs vote according to their own conscience rather than following the party whip - when parliament decides whether or not to back action.

But speaking on a visit to the National Assembly in Cardiff, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Seema Malhotra, said that it had been 'a really important way to have this conversation.'

And she told Political Editor Adrian Masters that 'there are many positive arguments' for giving Labour MPs a free vote.



Tax powers referendum move criticised

The campaign group True Wales which formed the NO campaign in 2011's Welsh powers referendum has criticised a UK Government move on devolving income tax.

George Osborne announced in his Spending Review statement that long-planned control over part of income tax will be transferred to the Welsh Government without the need for a referendum.

This is a major change from the law which paved the way the transfer and has been welcomed by some politicians in all parties, although a number of Welsh Conservatives remain opposed.

But Rachel Banner of True Wales says the move makes the 2011 referendum 'illegitimate.' Here's her statement:

In 2011, so worried were politicians and Yes campaigning groups about the possibility of a No response from the electorate that the referendum question itself - agreed by the Secretary of State for Wales and the Electoral Commission - contained a pledge that a Yes vote would not lead to tax powers.

This was included despite the fact that the UK Coalition Government agreement had stated that a Calman-style Commission would be established in the event of a Yes vote. Politicians loudly denied that a Yes vote would lead to tax powers, while the Holtham Report on fiscal devolution was treated as some dirty little secret to be kept under the Assembly mattress till the referendum campaign was over.

On that basis, True Wales believes that the introduction of income tax powers without a referendum is illegitimate and brings the devolution settlement into disrepute.

– Rachel Banner, True Wales
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