There's been an unenthusiastic response to Carwyn Jones' demand for more powers for the Assembly from the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, the two parties that have long advocated that devolution should go further.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats' leader, Kirsty Williams said Labour should have acted on the recommendations of the Richard Commission, set up when her party was in coalition government with Labour. She said Welsh Labour had only found its voice once the party had lost power at Westminster.
It is now time for the Labour party to make their stance clear on the matter. Does the Shadow Welsh Minister, Owen Smith MP, support these proposals? Does Ed Miliband support these proposals? If not, then one must wonder how significant these proposals actually are. As we all know, the Welsh Labour Government has traditionally had very little influence over their Labour colleagues in London. The people of Wales have a right to know what the Labour party’s position is on this.
There has been no response from Leanne Wood and her newly established Plaid Cymru leadership team but a party spokesperson issued a statement accusing the Welsh Government of delay and also questioning if Carwyn Jones had secured the backing of the Labour party for his demands.
While we are pleased with the direction of travel from the Welsh Government, this is very much a slow lane approach that would still leave the major levers of power at Westminster. The question is not just which powers should be transferred to Wales, but when they should be transferred.
It seems that these proposals involve kicking a lot into the long grass. Why, for example, should criminal justice powers be devolved in principle but not practice? This submission to the Silk Commission comes from the Welsh Government and not the Labour Party, so we look forward to reading the official submission from the Labour Party when it is presented.
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