Cardiff Public Event – 25 June 2009
Date of Event: 25/06/2009
Almost 170 members of the public gathered in the Assembly Room for the debate on the future of law making powers for the National Assembly.
TV presenter Mai Davies, chaired the evening, presiding over a panel of six, who were there to help facilitate and stimulate the debate.
Members of the panel included Assembly Member for Llanelli and Deputy Leader of Plaid Cymru, Helen Mary Jones; Labour Member of Parliament for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Nick Ainger; The Most Reverent Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales; Lord Tristan Garel-Jones; and Professor Richard Wyn Jones, Director of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University.
Also on the panel was Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Chair of the Convention, who was able to provide an overview of the Convention’s aims, and the current law-making powers of the National Assembly for Wales.
Ahead of the event, guests were invited by the Convention to submit questions to the panel, but there was also a chance for other members of the audience to have their say.
Both sides of the devolution argument were argued passionately by the panel and members of the audience, resulting in a lively debate.
Attendees were given interactive voting pads to record their responses to key questions, which gave everyone in the audience the opportunity to give their view on the issues being discussed and gauge the overall temperature of the room.
The audience was first asked whether they thought increased law-making powers would make it easier for people to engage with the Assembly:
- 69 per cent of the audience said it would make it easier to engage with the assembly
- 27 per cent disagreed and said it would not make it easier to engage
- 4 per cent indicated they did not know whether increased powers would help the situation
One questioner commented that Scotland seemed to be more enthusiastic about devolution. The audience was then asked to vote on whether Wales should be more enthusiastic about the concept of devolution:
- 62 per cent said Wales should be more enthusiastic
- 29 per cent of the audience disagreed and said Wales should not be more enthusiastic about devolution
- 10 per cent indicated they were undecided whether Wales should be more enthusiastic about the concept
The audience were also asked whether they thought the Legislative Competence Order (LCO) process was an effective means of gaining additional powers:
- 62 per cent said it was ineffective means of gaining powers
- 18 per cent described the system as adequate
- 7 per cent said it was effective
- 13 per cent of the audience said they did not know if the LCO process was an effective means of gaining additional powers
Finally, the audience was asked about how it would vote if there was a referendum:
- 87 per cent of those present said that they would vote if there was a referendum on law-making powers.
- Of these, 64 per cent were in favour of giving the Assembly law making powers all at once, whilst 36 per cent would vote to keep the current situation of gaining powers step by step with the agreement of the UK Parliament.
A drinks reception followed the event where staff, members of the Convention’s Executive Committee and panellists continued discussions with guests.
As a special treat to the audience, Sir Emyr introduced an operatic performance by Sally Li. Sally, from China, graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2008 and is currently studying at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice. She performed three arias of popular opera tunes and was accompanied by Brian Davies.
This event was the last event in a series of 23 public meeting to discuss the future of law-making powers for the National Assembly for Wales.