A CONSERVATIVE MS has resigned the Senedd's reform committee in response to changes proposed by the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru this morning.

Darren Millar, member for Clwyd West, announced his resignation from the Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform this afternoon, citing the "disrespectful" announcement, which he believes to be premature.

He said though the Tories have been opposed to reform it had accepted there is a mandate for change but claimed the announcement of the changes backed by Labour and Plaid is an attempt to steal the inatiative from the committee charged with examining the issue.

"My party has always opposed an increase to the number of members of the Senedd," Mr Millar said.

"But we have consistently said that we recognise that there's a majority of members of the Senedd that want to see reform, and that there's a mandate to deliver some - and on that basis, we joined the Senedd Reform Committee in good faith, in order to play a constructive part in the role and work of that committee, in order that it could make recommendations that the Welsh Government could deliver on.

"That has been undermined today - the work of the Senedd has been undermined today."

The Senedd reforms, unveiled in a joint statement by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, included proposals to increase the number of Senedd Members (MSs) from 60 to 96, the introduction of statutory gender quotas, and a change of voting system that would see all Senedd Members elected through Proportional Representation only.

As a Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform was formed in October 2021, and its work is still ongoing, Mr Millar believes that the announcement was premature - and "disrespectful" to the committee's members.

He accused Drakeford and Price of "strong-arming" the committee "on the basis of cosy discussions in ministerial offices".

Earlier today, Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Jane Dodds also criticised the announcement, on the basis that reforms did not go far enough.

 

 

"The statement falls short of what we need to create a Senedd and a democracy that's fit for Wales," she said.

"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.

"Plaid Cymru appeared to have abandoned their commitment to Single Transferrable Votes (STV).

"In a scramble to make an announcement, Plaid Cymru and Labour have ensured that the debate about whether the Senedd is fit for purpose will start no sooner than these proposals are brought into law."

STV is an alternative voting system in which the public ranks candidates according to preference, rather than casting a single vote.

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This system is currently used for elections in countries including Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and Australia.

Plaid Cymru, which backed the reforms announced today, previously endorsed expanding the Senedd to 100 members and introducing the STV system.

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