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Dr. Julian Lewis: My hon. Friend does not want to mention the Liberal Democrats, but will he allow me at least to ask what he thinks of an electoral system for an Assembly that is as lacking in a democratic mandate as that in Cardiff, which allows the party that was fourth in the elections to share ministerial-type appointments with the party that was first? Is that fair or democratic? Can we expect more of that from a Government who have such ways of undermining proper representation?
Mr. Evans: My hon. Friend tempts me to mention the Liberal Democrats, but I am loth to do so, except to say that they will pay a heavy price at the general election because people feel badly let down. They are not part of the Opposition, but they are part of the coalition and they will pay in Brecon and Radnorshire and in Montgomeryshire.
Mr. Paul Murphy: The hon. Gentleman did not reply to the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) on proper democratic representation of constituents. I do not think that he will come to that point, so will he tell the House his party's policies and his own views regarding the next Parliament? I am sure that there will not be a Conservative Government, but were there to be one, would he agree with reducing the rights, duties, responsibilities and powers of Welsh Members? Would he make us second-class MPs?
The Secretary of State must accept that Scottish Members can vote on legislation to ban hunting with hounds as it affects England and my constituency and as it affects his constituency, but we cannot vote on it as it affects their constituencies. Even more absurd is the fact that even they cannot vote on such legislation as it affects their constituencies. We shall make absolutely certain that Scottish Members will not be able to vote on issues that have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The Secretary of State knows that the power to make primary legislation for Wales rests here, so we shall make certain that only English and Welsh Members can vote on matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament. I am content with our policy and believe that it will gain a lot of support from the people of Wales as we explain it during the general election campaign.
Mr. Murphy: The hon. Gentleman says that his party's policy will get a lot of support from the people of Wales. Under it, however, there would be different types of MP, including Welsh Members, and Scottish Members would be unable to vote on certain matters. I assume that his party believes that the same should happen to Welsh Members. Should not there be a single type of Member of Parliament to represent each constituency? If not, inadequate representation would be provided by those who sit for the 40 Welsh parliamentary constituencies; or is he saying that he wants to reduce that figure as well? The Conservative party, through him, is saying to the people of Wales, "You will have second-class MPs in the House of Commons."
Mr. Evans: I am saying that, under the Labour Government, there are a number of second-class MPs, including the Welsh and the English. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, it is a great shame that the Government did not properly think through the devolution proposals. They say that they are replacing one anomaly with another and that we should be grateful for it. However, it is wrong that Scottish Members should come down to vote on issues that have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. They ought to have no say whatever as such matters should be left to English and Welsh Members. That is what I believe and that is what I shall support at the general election.
Mr. Fabricant: Following the point made by the Secretary of State, does my hon. Friend agree that many Welsh Assembly men think that they are second-class Members under the current arrangements? Do not they
Mr. Evans: The Government were already prepared to accept a different system because they knew that the people of Wales simply would not vote for a Parliament. Indeed, they almost did not vote for the National Assembly for Wales--the winning margin in the referendum was 0.6 per cent. We totally oppose and shall not support or vote for any measures to give the Welsh Assembly powers to raise tax and make primary legislation, which the Liberal Democrats at least believe should be foisted on Wales without a referendum.
Mr. Murphy: The House and the people of Wales would be interested to hear precisely what Conservative party policy is on devolution. As the hon. Gentleman has made his attitude to Welsh Members of the House of Commons clear and as he has just said that he does not like the idea of different types of devolution, what sort of devolution does his party favour for Wales?
Mr. Evans: The Secretary of State asks what that means, but many people in a number of areas of Wales feel badly let down by the National Assembly, so we shall work hard to make it operate in the interests of all the people of Wales, without the power to raise tax or make primary legislation.
The Secretary of State has asked me about representation and devolution. I am prepared to debate those issues with him on television during the next general election campaign. Is he prepared to accept the invitation of the television companies to participate in such debates during the election? I have said yes, and I suspect that members of the other political parties are also prepared to do so. Does the Secretary of State for Wales have more guts than his leader, who has run away from debating these issues with the leader of the Conservative party? Will he accept the invitation to hold televised debates at the general election?
Mr. Murphy: I shall tell the hon. Gentleman what I told the Welsh Grand Committee. It is not for the Conservative party to tell the Labour party how to run our election campaign, but I am sure that the opportunity will arise for us to have the great delight of debating all these issues with each other, so it would be useful to know his views on devolution.
Mr. Evans: I think that that was a distinct no. We may be only days away from the announcement of a general election. Labour want to run the campaign with spin and technology from Millbank. The Prime Minister is running away from the Leader of the Opposition. It is sad that the Secretary of State has not accepted my invitation.
Mr. Alun Michael (Cardiff, South and Penarth): Like many right hon. and hon. Friends, I was shocked to hear last night of the death of Ian Spratling. During my time as Secretary of State for Wales and First Secretary, I found him to be a unique individual--tough, vigorous and a positive voice for business in west Wales. He would work with elected representatives in central and local government to do the best for business. He was London born, which I did not realise because his passion for west Wales and for making the best of objective 1 opportunities were manifest.
I join my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in paying tribute to Lord Cledwyn. My uncle, Bob Roberts, who was brought up at Ty'n y Felin just outside Llanfachraeth, was a class mate of Cledwyn Hughes. They both ended up in the House of Commons--Cledwyn inside as Secretary of State, and uncle Bob outside as a policeman on St. Stephen's Entrance. It was a matter of great pride for the family that they both made it here. When I was elected in 1987, almost the first call I received was an invitation as a "bachgen o Ynys Mon" to see him in his office in the Lords. It was a great delight when, a short time later, he joined me and my wife and my mother and uncle Bob. We had the pleasure of his company and his memory of those times. He had a passion for the university of Wales; not because it is an institution, but because it offers hope and opportunity to young people, which is why it was established in the first place. He had a passion for Wales, and was a passionate supporter of devolution, but he hated the narrowness of nationalism, as did Jim Griffiths, another great Welsh and British politician and democrat.
I want to remind the House of the arguments for devolution that Lord Cledwyn and Jim Griffiths used in their time. We are now involved in a struggle between the negativism of nationalism and the positive values of partnership, which is what devolution is all about. The Leader of the Opposition spoke today of how Wales would be represented in the future: a part-time job for a non-Welsh MP. That is nonsense. The reality is that, if the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague) ever became Prime Minister, he would lead a narrow, English nationalist Government.
We have seen already the value of devolution in England. Questions from Conservative Members seem to suggest that they are unaware of devolution in Spain, which is not symmetrical. There is no symmetry in devolution in England, because London has its own mayor and authority with powers, although the English regions have their own regional development agencies and chambers of commerce to give them a voice. The voluntary sector is also coming together in those regions.
There is no need to say more about the words of Councillor Seimon Glyn, except that he outraged most Welsh speakers, and those who have come to Wales from England, Scotland and elsewhere and want their children to learn Welsh. It is Labour party members who care for the Welsh language, as we heard in an excellent debate on Welsh language and culture at our conference on Saturday morning in Swansea. It is the Labour party that is bringing jobs to Wales and reconstructing the Welsh economy, which is the real opportunity for the Welsh language, as it is for every other aspect of Welsh culture.
We see the same narrow, conservative nationalism behind the so-called row that the Western Mail has been trying to whip up over the census and the tick box. It is irresponsible of the Western Mail or anyone else to encourage people not to respond to the census. When people had the opportunity in Ceredigion and Gwynedd to say whether they wanted changes in the census form, they did not ask for a tick box.
In Scotland, if people follow the instructions correctly, only white Scots will tick the Scot box. That is ludicrous, and it is not right in this century. I do not want that in Wales. I will tick the box to show that I am British, and I will write in to say that I am Welsh. I am sure that the census system can cope with that. I am proud to be Welsh and I am proud to be British. The nationalists cannot say that. I will encourage many people in my constituency to say that they are Welsh, British and Afro-Caribbean or Asian. This intemperate, last-minute debate has confused the issues of nationality and ethnicity.