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Mr. Wigley: If the hon. Gentleman has doubts about what the assembly will be able to do, I shall listen carefully to his arguments when we explore its order-making powers. At present, order-making powers rest with the Secretary of State and will be transferred to the assembly. A decision by the assembly not to move the commencement orders would prevent orders from being used. Other orders also fall into that category.

I accept that the National Assembly for Wales will be able to prevent provisions from being implemented, but that is a negative role, and I want it to have a creative role, so that ideas that have been bubbling away in Wales in local government, education, health and housing will be able to flourish. If that is true for those areas, how much more true it would be for the Welsh language.

The Welsh Language Act 1993 was dealt with by a Standing Committee which had a majority of Tories who did not represent Welsh constituencies, and who did not know about the prospects and hopes for the language and the need to ensure that we were carrying the whole community with us. Members of the National Assembly for Wales will have that background, because they will be from communities in which that is a material policy. It would be nonsense to have to come to Westminster for the smallest legislative change in the Welsh Language Act 1993 when we have our own national assembly.

The national assembly must have full legislative powers if we are to have a coherent policy. The interface between executive and legislative powers must be clarified. If the national assembly has executive powers but no primary legislative powers, there will be a partial vacuum between the left hand and the right hand, and there is a danger that one will go in one direction and the other in the other direction, especially if there is a difference between the political balance in the assembly in Cardiff, or wherever it may be, and the political balance in the House.

There is also the question of the credibility of the National Assembly for Wales in the context of the European Union. The Secretaries--if that is to be the term--will go to Brussels as part of a United Kingdom delegation dealing with agriculture, the environment, employment and regional policies, which are matters of essential importance to the National Assembly for Wales. If they are regarded as second-class citizens compared with the Secretaries or Ministers of the Scottish Parliament, who will have full, law-making powers under their belt, that will be a retrograde step. The needs of Wales will not have the same credibility as those of Scotland.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): Ought not the right hon. Gentleman to be a little more careful when saying that the Scottish Ministers will have full law-making powers, because it is clear that no one other than a representative of this House can represent the United Kingdom as a whole?

Mr. Wigley: That is open to argument. Some people take a different view from that taken by the hon. Member

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for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell). I know what stance he takes on the Scottish Parliament, and although I fundamentally disagree with his view, I cannot but respect it, having heard it over the years from the 1970s to the late 1990s.

It is up to Ministers to clarify the position, but I think I know what the Government intend. The agricultural needs of the Scottish and Welsh communities are different, in terms of balance, from those in England, which are dominated by the requirements of barley and grain farmers in East Anglia. When a Welsh national assembly and a Scottish Parliament are dealing with specific needs of that kind, it will be crazy if those who are in charge of the executive functions in Wales and Scotland are not out in Brussels as part of the team and able to argue the case, and I hope very much that that will happen.

I am merely saying that the credibility of those people will be that much greater if they are accompanied by Ministers, with the full implication of that term--or Secretaries, as they will be called in Wales--rather than just going as people in charge of an administrative and executive function.

Mr. Michael Ancram (Devizes): The issue is important, and the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) was right to raise it.

The right hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) says that he understands that the Government will invite Members of the Assembly who have interests in agriculture and fishing to go to the Council of Ministers, and we have heard from the Secretary of State for Scotland that he intends to establish concordats or agreements to allow that to happen. Does the right hon. Gentleman believe that, in such an important context--in which the voice of Wales and, indeed, that of Scotland will be either heard or not heard in the Council of Ministers--the matter should be left, in the long term, to concordats or agreements? Should not the legislation make the position clear?

Mr. Wigley: I am not sure that it is for me to answer that question; it might be better for a Minister to answer it. I certainly think that we need to understand what the assembly's powers will be--and the Secretaries of the assembly, who will be responsible for the functions concerned, will also need to know the extent of its powers. That stands to reason. The position must be clarified, whether that is done by means of primary legislation--our amendment, along with others, is an attempt to move the agenda forward--by order or through guidelines.

Let me put another point to the right hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram), and to the hon. Member for Linlithgow. I have the impression that it has been acknowledged in regard to the Scotland Bill that, in some circumstances--one thinks of fishing, in the context of Scotland--a Scottish Minister will be able to deliver the United Kingdom vote in the Council of Ministers. If that is so, we shall be looking for similar powers in relation to Wales.

Mr. Donald Anderson: Surely, in such circumstances, the Scottish Minister would be speaking on behalf of the United Kingdom by agreement, because of the special interest in Scotland. The same applies to forestry. There is only one member of the European Union--the United

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Kingdom--and the fact that the United Kingdom chooses to delegate to one or other person responsibility for speaking on a particular subject does not detract from that.

Mr. Wigley: I accept, of course, that the Scottish Minister--or, I hope, the Welsh Secretary--will be speaking on behalf of the United Kingdom. I believe that the Welsh Minister would probably have a higher profile in the context of, for instance, minority languages than any other Minister from the United Kingdom. My point is that, in the context of not only the Council of Ministers itself but the negotiations that lead to decisions in the Council, if we have something that is seen to be less than a legislative assembly, a certain amount of the profile and credibility of our Secretaries who go out there will be diluted.

The National Assembly of Wales--or for Wales; we will come to that in a moment--needs to be capable of developing full legislative powers in regard to certain areas in which Wales clearly has special needs. The Secretary of State referred in an intervention to a programme developing over a period. As the Welsh Office has itself developed over the past 30 years--it was established in 1964--it has been able to bring about functions and responsibilities that may not exist in the assembly during the initial period. If, however, the Secretary of State sees the Bill as it stands as part of the programme to which he refers, that is obviously interesting. We accept that everything cannot come to Wales overnight, and that we have to walk before we can run; but I want some clarification in relation to the legislative function referred to in the amendment.

Finally, let me deal with a subject that, although it is covered in the Bill, seems to be covered in a unique way. I refer to the legislative changes with regard to the Welsh Development Agency Bill. I believe that the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands) and I are the only remaining Members who sat on the Committee that considered the Welsh Development Agency Act 1975.

Mr. Rowlands indicated dissent.

Mr. Wigley: Of course. The hon. Gentleman was a Minister at that time. I may be the only remaining Member who sat on that Committee. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) was also there.

The Act was important, and it has developed a body that has undertaken an important function for Wales, but the agency needs changing, and changes need to be made to that primary legislation. Those changes are included in the Government of Wales Bill. If people find that similar changes are needed to primary legislation with regard to other bodies in Wales or to other areas of Government policy in Wales, will it be possible to use powers similar to those defined in the Bill for the WDA with regard to those other matters? That is a facility to change primary legislation.

I want to understand whether it will be possible for the assembly to say that other primary legislation needs to be dealt with in this way in order to create the structures--

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as in the case of the agency--or the policies within which bodies operate in other contexts to meet the requirements of Wales.

Mr. Ron Davies: As the right hon. Gentleman is asking a specific question, perhaps I can resolve the matter. There will be a dynamic relationship between the assembly and whichever Government are in Westminster. If the Welsh assembly wishes to make such a submission, I would hope that there would be a reasonable relationship between the assembly and the British Government--the Westminster Parliament--to allow those arguments to be voiced. Ultimately, however, it would be a matter for the British Government and then this British House of Commons to decide whether they wished to give those powers to the assembly. It would be for this Parliament to give it those powers.

It is not possible at this stage to give a blank cheque to the right hon. Gentleman or to say that that is what would happen, but, if he were to want that to happen, it would be for the assembly or the Welsh Secretary to ensure that the British Government adopted that as their policy, and to introduce appropriate legislation before this Parliament.

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