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Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy): I did not intend to intervene in the debate, but I am driven to do so by what the Minister has just said. Is he honestly saying that the word "senedd" would imply that everyone in the assembly spoke Welsh? Why should people worry about that name? Is not Tai Cymru doing roaring business? Is CADW not rather well known in Wales?

Mr. Griffiths: I was not saying that. Clearly, the assembly will be a bilingual institution. As it will be the National Assembly for Wales, if we put the word "senedd" in the Bill some people may think that we are being partial. We do not want to give that impression because we want to bring everyone with us.

I should add that we reject new clauses 3 and 4 as they go against the wishes of the people of Wales as expressed in the referendum.

6.45 pm

Mr. Wigley: I thank hon. Members for taking part in this afternoon's extremely interesting debate. I shall address the nomenclature first as I can do so fairly rapidly. We do not support the Conservative amendment proposing the name "Welsh Assembly", although I readily agree that the term will be used colloquially. However, I accept the arguments of the right hon. Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies) that a body "of Wales" belongs to Wales, that a body "for Wales" sounds as though it belongs to someone else and that "of" would, therefore, be better than "for". I understand that Ministers will look again at the matter, so we shall not push it to a vote at this stage.

Obviously, we support the use of the word "senedd" as it reflects the nature of the institution in that it has law-making powers. We should like the assembly ultimately to have full law-making powers. I readily accept that the Bill does not provide full law-making powers. It was, however, interesting to hear the Minister's reply to the debate and the comment made by other hon. Members that the division between secondary legislation and primary legislation was not as clear cut as some people might think.

As the Minister said, the White Paper contained provisions for the assembly to have certain primary law-making powers. The Bill provides mechanisms in respect of those powers. The White Paper on which the people of Wales voted included changes of a primary legislative nature within the capability of the assembly.

The hon. Member for Wrexham (Dr. Marek) made the interesting point that the extent of the powers of the assembly dealing with secondary legislation would be

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determined largely by the nature of the primary legislation passed here. Therefore, there may be times when the assembly will require primary law-making powers to achieve what might otherwise have been achieved by secondary law-making powers had the primary laws been drawn up differently. There is a substantial overlap.

The main thrust of the debate came from the hon. Members for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan), for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson), for Brecon and Radnorshire (Mr. Livsey) and for Wrexham and from some of my hon. Friends who said that the issue was not set in stone for all time and that, in drawing up the provisions for the assembly in the Bill, we were providing for certain legislative functions--most of them secondary legislative functions and some of them specific primary legislative functions. They also said that the provisions need not necessarily be the formula for ever and a day, and that if the democratic wishes of the people of Wales, as expressed to the assembly, sought a change in that balance, it might be possible to facilitate that.

I accept that idea as a reasonable way forward, but it would be silly for the Bill not to include mechanisms to allow for at least some of those functions to be achieved without the House having to resort to primary legislation every time we needed a facility to change the name of the assembly, for example, or every time Members of the Assembly wanted a change in respect of other relatively small provisions.

We have heard that discretion is being provided by the House--it could be called a discretion of the House--in terms of blocking secondary legislation. The assembly will be able to say that it does not want to use orders that are allowed because they are not appropriate for Wales--in other words, that it does not want to adopt the secondary legislation applied to England. That is the nature of the assembly and of the powers of the Secretary of State. However, we do not have the positive discretion to allow the assembly to do things. The Bill may need a mechanism to enable an order to be passed in Westminster allowing primary changes on relatively small matters of the sort mentioned by several hon. Members, without the whole primary mechanism in Westminster having to be gone through again. Building such an order into the Bill would be of tremendous benefit, saving the House a lot of time, but leaving the ultimate decision to the House, because the order would have to be passed by Parliament before the powers could be transferred.

Given that that is where the argument lies and having heard the Secretary of State's acknowledgement that we are talking about an evolving assembly, we could well look at the issue again on Report or in another place. I hope that it will be possible to find a mechanism that avoids unnecessary work for this Chamber and avoids the confrontation that there might otherwise be between the assembly and this Chamber purely because of lack of time.

We have had a constructive debate on these powers. On the basis of that debate and the evolving nature that the Secretary of State has described, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Mr. Ancram: I beg to move amendment No. 4, in page 1, line 10, at end insert--

'(1A) Notwithstanding the establishment of the Assembly, or anything contained in this Act, the supreme authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall remain unaffected and undiminished over all persons, matters and things in Wales.'.

Having listened to the previous debate, I am even more confirmed in my view that the amendment is necessary. The leader of Plaid Cymru asserted his determination to ensure that the Bill is part of a slippery slope towards achieving an independent Wales. Many of the comments made during the previous debate raised serious doubts in my mind--and, I suspect in the mind of many of my hon. Friends--about the effective sovereignty of this House.

On Second Reading, the Secretary of State asked why such an amendment would be necessary, saying that this House was sovereign anyway. We have heard suggestions tonight that the sovereignty of this House could be thwarted. I did not intervene on the Minister a few minutes ago because I felt that it was proper to raise the issue on this amendment. If the assembly could thwart the sovereignty of Parliament by refusing to implement a commencement order on legislation that the House had deliberately and consciously voted to apply to Wales--I am uncertain about that after what has been said--serious questions would be raised.

Mr. Ron Davies rose--

Mr. Ancram: I shall give way to the right hon. Gentleman, but if he is going to say that the House could revert to primary legislation in such a case and retrieve the commencement order to apply it from this House, he will raise serious questions about the whole project.

Mr. Davies: I am not going to say that. The answer to the right hon. Gentleman's question is clear. The assembly can exercise only the discretion that the House gives it. A future Government may want to give the assembly discretion to implement, or not to implement, a measure through secondary legislation or to vary provision in Wales according to Welsh circumstances. The assembly will not be able to exercise any judgment outwith that given to it by the House.

I should like to make two other points briefly. There is no need to make it explicitly clear that sovereignty rests with the House, because it clearly does. Nothing that the assembly or any future Government do can undermine the sovereignty of Parliament.

There was an interesting debate on the previous amendment. The important point is that there is a body of opinion that wants to make the assembly work. The discussions that are taking place and the concept of developing relationships derive from the broad consensus that the assembly must be made to work. I hope that the Conservative party accepts that the project is on course. We are going to have an assembly and it is in the best interests of the House and of the people of Wales to have one that is soundly based and has a good working relationship with Parliament. That means that there will be developing changes.

Mr. Ancram: One other developing change is a galloping response to an amendment as it goes along. The

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Secretary of State has responded to my points during my remarks rather than at the end. I do not know whether he will be responding to the debate--

Mr. Davies: No, it will be the Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths).

Mr. Ancram: I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman will not because, with great respect, he has greater authority than his hon. Friend. However, I look forward to hearing the response.

Mr. Davies: I shall not allow the right hon. Gentleman to get away with that unwarranted slur on my hon. Friend, who speaks with the full authority of the Government. There is no question of his statements carrying any less weight than mine. There is no reason why I should have chosen to reply to the debate. I had no knowledge that the right hon. Gentleman was going to move the amendment. Had he had the courtesy to notify me that he wanted me to reply to the debate, I should have considered it, but he cannot assume that this is the most important debate just because it is on a Conservative amendment. I think that the amendment is the least worthy of all those that we are due to debate.

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