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Mrs. Gillan: I appreciate the fact that the Secretary of State chose his words carefully, because I was led to believe that the matter was one of the points of issue in bringing in the Order in Council mechanism. It was one of the matters on which the Secretary of State had refused to grant legislation requested by the Assembly. I understood that from the First Minister himself; I hope I do not misinterpret him.
There has been no specific request for legislation. The motion passed by the Assembly was
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transmitted to me by the First Minister and I said that I did not think it appropriate to take it forward. I was particularly concerned that there had been no proper consultation with the business community in Wales.
Hywel Williams: The Secretary of State may say that there is a colourful miscellany of requests and a huge variety of aspirations, but that is a measure of the ideas among Plaid Cymru Members about how the devolution settlement could be developed, and will be developed in future.
There are proponents of bicameralism and of unicameralism, but what the Bill seems to propose throughout is tricameralism. There are sets of proposals whereby measures such as demands for a referendum or any changes in the competency of the post-legislative powers of the National Assembly would still have to go through three hoops: the Assembly, the House of Commons and the Chamber down the Corridor. That is not acceptable to my party, nor probablyprivatelyto many democrats on the Labour Benches.
As some Members of the Assembly have said, it is almost as though we are returning to the dark days of the Poynings law when the Irish Parliament had to send its proposals to Westminster for approval. On several occasions, Catholic Members of the Upper House who came to Westminster to support those proposals ended up in the tower. I am not suggesting that that would happen nowadays, either under the Labour Government or a future Government of another hue.
I reiterate the point that we have made throughout proceedings on the Bill: it is unacceptable for the democratic wish of the national representative institution of the people of Wales to be frustrated by an unelected Chamber. Self-government is ours by right. We have a right to self-determination; it is not
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something that should be doled out through the largesse of an unelected institution. Therefore, we argue that the House of Lords has no proper rolecertainly not after an affirmative vote by the people of Wales to set up a properly constituted law-making Parliament. We therefore ask the Government to remove the House of Lords from that role.
As Lord Livsey has said, such a role could fan the flames of Welsh nationalismso perhaps arguing against that could be contrary to our own interests if that interpretation is correct. If the House of Lords ever frustrates the democratic wishes of the Welsh people, it would certainly lead to a constitutional crisis, and I am sure that the Secretary of State would not want that to happen.
Mr. Hain: We have covered this ground in some detail earlier in our proceedings, but I congratulate the hon. Member for Carmarthen, East and Dinefwr (Adam Price) on making a speech that he had not expected to make and on doing so very competently. As I have said before, we cannot in the middle of the Government of Wales Bill overturn the whole constitutional relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords and, in effect, pre-emptively apply the Parliament Acts to the House of Lords on Welsh legislation alone. I ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.
Mr. Grieve : I am pleased to hear the Secretary of State say that. I heartily agree with him, although I am bound to point out that substantial parts of the Billparticularly part 3, which we considered previouslyimplement remarkable constitutional innovations and the Government do not seem to be troubled by that at all. On the basis of the Government's approach, I am a little startled, but rather reassured to hear the Secretary of State adopt such a constitutionalist position.
Adam Price: Yet again, I am disappointed, but hardly surprised and certainly not shocked by the Secretary of State's rejection of our restatement of the Welsh people's democratic right to self-determination. However, on the basis that we will not finish the unfinished business of the House of Lords reform this evening, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
We return to a subject that we touched on when we considered part 3. I am mindful of the fact that
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different criteria will apply to each part. Nevertheless, it would be helpful if the Minister could take this opportunity to explain to the House how he considers that the Standings Orders will operate to expedite proceedings on Bills and what checks, if any, will exist if the view is that the way in which the Assembly conducts its business is preventing full debate from taking place.
Even if the Assembly gets its part 4 powers, it will still be a subordinate legislature. People are entitled to some reassurance that the Assembly will conduct its scrutiny in a manner that the House finds acceptable. I am sure that the Minister will appreciate that there is at least a risk that Standing Orders could be introduced that short-circuit the full consideration of Bills. If that were to happen under part 4, what redress would individuals have if they wanted to challenge the decisions that the Assembly made within its sphere of competence? I should like the Minister to address his remarks to that issue in particular in dealing with amendment No. 192.
Again, amendment No. 193 revisits the use of English and Welsh. That issue was raised in identical terms in part 3, and the only reason why I raise it again is to find out whether the Minister has anything to add to my suggestion on that occasion that the Bill confined the text used to English and Welsh, whereas the Minister mentioned the possibility that one might wish to write part of the text in Latinfor example, to identify medicinal products. The current wording prohibits that, however, and I do not think that that is what the Government intend.
Mr. Llwyd : I rise very briefly to support amendment No. 193, as I did last week in support of a similar amendment. There is no point dwelling on the subject: it is a proper amendment, and I hope that the Government will give due consideration to it.
As for the use of Latin words, I am sure that we could accommodate Latin words in a Welsh text. There were timesfor example, in the laws of Hywel Ddawhen laws appeared in both Welsh and Latin, to the exclusion of English, of course.
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