Plan unveiled to add 36 extra Senedd members

By Chris Betteley   |   Reporter   |
Monday 16th May 2022 5:30 am
@ChrisABetteley
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PLANS to reform Welsh politics hope to see the Senedd expanded to 96 members, with gender quotas and a shake up of constituencies with each selecting multiple members.

First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said they want Senedd reform to be implemented in time for the next election in 2026 - even if some of the changes are introduced on an interim basis.

The changes call for the Senedd to have 96 members - up from the current 60 - using “closed proportional lists with integrated statutory gender quotas.”

It calls for seats to be allocated to parties using the partial proportional representation D’Hondt formula.

Under the plans the 2026 Senedd election should use the final 32 UK Parliament constituencies proposed by the Boundary Commission for Wales once it has concluded its 2023 Parliamentary Review.

These constituencies should be paired to create 16 Senedd constituencies, with each constituency should elect six Members.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The case for Senedd reform has been made. “We now need to get on with the hard work to create a modern Senedd, which reflects the Wales we live in today.

Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru, said: “These reforms will lay the foundations for a stronger Welsh democracy and a fairer, more representative Senedd that will look entirely different to the outdated political system at Westminster.

“A stronger, more diverse, more representative Senedd will have a greater capacity to perform its primary purpose of making a positive difference to the lives of the people of Wales”

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds MS said the plans “fall short of what we need to create a Senedd and a democracy that’s fit for Wales.”

“The proposed constituency map will mean nothing to communities, and we will still be lumbered with a voting system that fails to ensure that votes match seats,” she said.

Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew RT Davies MS, said: “Wales does not need more politicians in Cardiff Bay – we need more teachers, doctors, dentists, and nurses.

“With residents across the country facing cost-of-living pressures, the last thing they need is to be footing the bill – expected to be more than £75 million over five years at least – for Labour and Plaid’s pet project.”

The joint position statement was set out in a letter to Huw Irranca-Davies, the chair of the cross-party Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform.

It is designed to support the committee’s work to make recommendations, which will shape a Senedd Reform Bill.

The committee must publish its report by 31 May.

It will then be debated and voted on by the Senedd.

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