Pwyllgor o’r Senedd Gyfan - Y Bumed Senedd
Committee of the Whole Senedd - Fifth Senedd09/10/2019
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Mae hon yn fersiwn ddrafft o’r cofnod. Cyhoeddir fersiwn derfynol ymhen pum diwrnod gwaith.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. This is a draft version of the record. The final version will be published within five working days.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 15:46.
The meeting began at 15:46.
We reconvene as a committee of the whole house, and the purpose of this is Stage 2 of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill, and I intend to proceed now with the first group.
The first group of amendments relates to the name of the National Assembly for Wales. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 265, and I call on Rhun ap Iorwerth to move and speak to the lead amendment and the other amendments in this group. Rhun.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 265 (Rhun ap Iorwerth, gyda chefnogaeth Hefin David a Mike Hedges).
Amendment 265 (Rhun ap Iorwerth, supported by Hefin David and Mike Hedges) moved.
Diolch yn fawr iawn, Dirprwy Lywydd. Dwi yn codi ar fy nhraed i gynnig gwelliant 265, a gyd-gyflwynwyd gen i, Mike Hedges a Hefin David, ac i ofyn am eich cefnogaeth hefyd i welliannau 266, 267 a 268, sy'n gwneud newidiadau canlyniadol i adran 2 o'r Bil fel y'i cyflwynwyd, ac i Ddeddf Llywodraeth Cymru 2006, drwy wella'r Atodlen i'r Bil fel y'i cyflwynwyd.
Rydyn ni'n cyfarfod heddiw ac yn trafod yn y Senedd. Senedd ydy cartref Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru. Mae'r enw yna ar yr adeilad ei hun wedi dod i gael ei ddefnyddio yn eang iawn. A heddiw, yn rhan gyntaf ein hystyriaeth ni o Fil Senedd ac Etholiadau (Cymru), rydyn ni'n trafod sut i nodi'r ffaith ein bod ni wedi dod ar daith gyfansoddiadol bell iawn ers creu'r Cynulliad fel corff efo pwerau cyfyngiadau iawn 20 mlynedd yn ôl. Dwi am apelio arnoch chi i ddeddfu yn hyderus yng ngallu pobl Cymru, o ba bynnag ddewis iaith, i uno y tu cefn i ac i gofleidio un enw o wreiddiau Cymraeg a Chymreig ond sy'n perthyn i ni gyd, pa bynnag ydy ein dewis ni o iaith.
Thank you very much, Deputy Presiding Officer. I stand today to move amendment 265, which was jointly tabled by myself, Mike Hedges and Hefin David, and to seek your support to amendments 266, 267 and 268, which make consequential changes to section 2 of the Bill as tabled, and to the Government of Wales Act 2006, by making amendments to the Schedule to the Bill as introduced.
We meet today to have our discussion in the Senedd. Senedd is the home of the National Assembly for Wales. That name is already given to the building and has been widely used over the years. For the first part of our consideration of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill, we are discussing the fact that we have been on a constitutional journey that’s taken us a very long way since the creation of the Assembly as a body with very limited powers 20 years ago. I want to appeal to you to legislate with confidence in the ability of the people of Wales, whatever language they speak, to unite behind and to embrace a single name that is rooted in Wales and in Welsh but belongs to us all, whatever our language of choice.
Some words transcend language barriers. The Welsh language, needless to say, belongs to us all, but there are some words, in particular, that in practical and usage terms genuinely belong to us all. There are words that slip easily from one linguistic context to another, and 'senedd' is one of those words—a word that is of Wales, a word rooted in the Welsh language, that is bilingual in its application. What better application for such an inclusive word than as the official name of our national democratic and representative institution?
Owain Glyndŵr's Parliament was a 'senedd'. In the twenty-first century, our Parliament is a 'senedd'. That doesn't preclude anyone from referring to it as they wish. I'm perfectly comfortable that on the door, if you like, underneath the 'Senedd' title, could be a description of what we are: Senedd Genedlaethol Cymru/The National Parliament of Wales, or whatever else. We're talking here about our title. The Oireachtas is the name of the Irish Parliament. The Dáil is the lower house of the Irish Parliament. The Seanad is the upper house. Its website's 'Visit and Learn' section explains how Parliament works. In voting today for 'Senedd' as our name, those who want the choice of referring to it as a Parliament will clearly be able to, but we can make a statement about the uniqueness of our institution, as the Irish do theirs. A unique Welsh name for a unique Welsh Parliament.
But there's more to my argument today than an attempt to create an emotional attachment only. In many ways, the amendment put forward by myself, Mike Hedges and Hefin David, could be viewed as a technical amendment—an honest attempt to improve what is in the original Bill. The Bill, as laid, states in section 2, entitled 'Senedd', point 1:
'The Assembly for Wales constituted by the 2006 Act is to be known as the "Senedd".'
So far, so okay—stating that the Assembly is to be called the 'Senedd' is somewhat confusing. It goes on to point 2:
'The Senedd may also be known as the Welsh Parliament.'
Now, I understand and, as I signified earlier, I support the principle behind that point 2, namely in signifying the move from Assembly to Parliament. When the Assembly was established here in Wales, Scotland was granted a Parliament. Rightly or wrongly, it was widely perceived that that difference in title reflected a difference of status—rightly or wrongly. The Scottish Parliament was a primary law-making body; we were not. We can argue that a name doesn't matter—[Interruption.] I'm willing to give way to a Minister.
Of course it's got more powers.
No, carry on.
Okay. It's a heckle. I'll address the heckle. For the record, I shall state what the Deputy Minister said. He said that, in France, you have the Assemblée Nationale and he's quite right. What I said was that, rightly or wrongly, there is a perception that the creation of a National Assembly for Wales, as opposed to a Scottish Parliament, was due to a difference of status.
We can argue that a name doesn't matter. It's what we do that matters. But I do believe it makes a difference to perceptions, and that is why I support the inclusion of the word 'Parliament' in the legislation as a description of this institution. But to state that it's to be called a 'Senedd', and that in a different context it's also to be known as the 'Welsh Parliament', is rather confusing. Now, perhaps it's the possibility of confusion that led to the amendment laid in the name of Carwyn Jones, calling for the naming of the institution, and I quote,
'Senedd Cymru or Welsh Parliament'.
That may be well meaning in its attempt to provide clarity, but I believe strongly that what this succeeds in doing is, in fact, to confuse things further. It undermines the name 'Senedd', which is already in widespread use and which I believe Carwyn Jones and certainly the First Minister, from his comments this week and previously, have indicated is the name they'd choose to use for the institution anyway, whatever it says in legislation. What I say to Carwyn Jones and the First Minister and others: back yourselves and your instincts. There is no legal barrier to doing this. There is no linguistic barrier, unless we believe somehow that people aren't capable of embracing that word, 'Senedd', and, of course, we're not saying that, are we? The number of non-Welsh speakers who've been contacting me backing the name 'Senedd' far outnumber Welsh speakers who've been contacting me to say the same.
Now, what we are doing with our amendment, No. 265, is to offer a cleaner, a more effective way of cementing 'Senedd' as a title, whilst including the word 'Parliament' as a clear sign of our constitutional development. Our amendment attempts to introduce a new section, entitled 'A Parliament for Wales', immediately achieving that requirement regarding understanding the institution's status.
The next line reads:
'There is to be a parliament for Wales to be known as the “Senedd”.’
Transparent, clear and something we could all unite behind. The added benefit would be to clarify the issue of the title given to Members. We're asking you to vote against those amendments that suggest new titles for amendments different to that laid in the original Bill, because opting for an unambiguous 'Senedd' means we can easily adhere to what's laid in that original Bill—'Aelod o'r Senedd'/'Member of the Senedd', 'AS' or 'MS'.
Dirprwy Lywydd, I'd like to thank Members from across political parties for pledges of support to this amendment. You will know that I've contacted you all today asking you to consider your views on this particular amendment. I also contacted Carwyn Jones to ask him to consider withdrawing his amendment. It's not possible to withdraw, I guess, but you could choose not to move the motion. And, again, I appeal for you not to move the motion. If it is moved, I ask you to support our amendment today for its clarity, for its transparency, for its clear purpose. I ask Government not to whip its Members, in order that those who I know wish to support our amendment are able to do so, because this is not a matter for the Government of today—this is for our institution of the future.
We can unite behind 'Senedd', and I ask you all kindly, as a statement of confidence in our own nation, rather than more ambiguous conventions, to support the amendment.
Thank you. Carwyn Jones.
Diolch, Dirprwy Lywydd. Rwy'n mynd i siarad am welliannau 85 ac 87, os gallaf. Dwi ddim yn bwriadu siarad heb symud yn ffurfiol y gwelliannau eraill.
Wrth glywed beth oedd gyda Rhun ap Iorwerth i'w ddweud, roedd yn fy nharo i ein bod ni ddim yn bell iawn o'n gilydd, a'r ddadl yw beth yw’r gwahaniaeth rhwng enw arferol ac enwau cyfreithiol. Dwi ddim yn credu bod unrhyw ddadl ynglŷn â beth fydd yr enw arferol, sef 'y Senedd'. Mi fydda i'n defnyddio 'y Senedd' fy hunan. Mae'n wir i ddweud yn y byd gwleidyddol fod yr enw 'Senedd' yn gyffredin. Mae'n wir i ddweud hefyd fod yr enw 'Senedd' yn dod yn fwy amlwg ymhlith y cyhoedd, ond dwi ddim yn credu ein bod ni cweit yna eto ynglŷn â phobl yn deall bod 'Senedd' yn meddwl 'Parliament'.
Rwy'n siarad fel rhywun sydd wedi hala 20 mlynedd yn esbonio i bobl beth yw 'Cynulliad', beth yw 'Assembly'. Mae'n wir i ddweud, mewn gwledydd eraill fel Ffrainc, fod yna draddodiad o alw Senedd yn 'Assemblée' neu 'Assemblée Nationale'; dyw e ddim yn wir fan hyn. O achos hynny, i'r rhai ohonon ni oedd yma ar y dechrau, roedd e'n anodd esbonio i bobl beth yn gwmws oedd y lle hyn. Rwy'n moyn sicrhau bod hynny ddim yn digwydd yn y pen draw. Rwy'n credu, wrth ddweud hynny, y bydd yr enw 'Senedd' yn cael ei droi i mewn i enw arferol, a phwy â ŵyr yn y dyfodol beth fydd yn digwydd o ran yr enwau cyfreithiol.
Pam ydw i'n dweud hynny? Wel, os edrychwch chi ar welliant 87, beth mae'r gwelliant yn ddweud yw y dylen ni alw'n hunain yn 'Aelodau Senedd Cymru' neu 'Members of Senedd Cymru', nid 'Members of the Welsh Parliament'. Mae yna, rwy'n gwybod, welliannau eraill sydd yn delio gyda hwnna. Gyda'r gwelliannau eraill sydd yn delio gyda theitlau fel teitl y Comisiwn, teitl y Clerc, yna y gair 'Senedd' sydd yna. So, beth rwyf wedi ceisio ei wneud yn gyntaf yw sicrhau bod yr enw 'Senedd' yn cael ei ddefnyddio fel enw arferol, ond yn gyfreithiol bod pobl yn gwybod beth yn gwmws yw 'Senedd Cymru', sef 'Welsh Parliament', i'r rheini sydd ddim yn gyfarwydd â'r term.
Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. I want to address amendments 85 ad 87, if I may. I don’t intend to formally move the other amendments.
In listening to Rhun ap Iorwerth’s comments, it appears to me that we’re not so far apart. The argument is what is the difference between common usage and legal names. I don’t think there’s any doubt as to what common usage would be. It’ll be 'Senedd'. I will use the word 'Senedd' myself. It’s true to say that in the political world 'Senedd' is widely used, and it’s also true to say that 'Senedd' is becoming more apparent among the public. But I don’t think that we’re quite there yet, that everyone understands that 'Senedd' means 'Parliament'.
I speak as someone who has spent 20 years explaining to people what 'Assembly' means. It’s true to say that in other nations such as France there is a tradition of calling a Parliament an 'Assemblée' or 'Assemblée Nationale', it’s not true here. Because of that, for those of us who were here at the beginning, it was difficult to explain to people what exactly this place was. I want to ensure that that doesn’t happen ultimately. I think, in saying that, the name 'Senedd' will be adopted into common usage, and who knows what will happen to legal terminology in future.
Why do I say that? Well, if you look at amendment 87, what the amendment states is that we should call ourselves 'Members of Senedd Cymru' or 'Aelodau o Senedd Cymru', not 'Members of the Welsh Parliament'. I know there are other amendments dealing with that issue. With the other amendments dealing with titles such as the title of the Commission and the Clerk, then the word 'Senedd' is used. So, what I have sought to do first of all is to ensure that the name 'Senedd' is used in common usage, but that legally people understand what 'Senedd Cymru' is, namely 'Welsh Parliament', for those not familiar with the term.
Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am adael imi ddod i mewn yn fan hyn. Ydych chi'n derbyn, serch hynny, fod y gwelliant sydd wedi cael ei gynnig gennym ni, gwelliant 265, hefyd yn llwyddo i wneud hynny, ond yn gliriach, o ran rhoi'r label hwnnw o ran 'Senedd' i'r sefydliad, tra yn ei gwneud hi'n berffaith glir mewn deddfwriaeth ac fel disgrifiad mai 'Parliament' ydy'r fan hyn?
Thank you very much for letting me intervene here. Do you accept, however, that the amendment that has been tabled by us, amendment 265, also succeeds in doing that, but is clearer in putting that label, 'Senedd', on the institution, while making it perfectly clear that in legislation and as a descriptor this is a Parliament?
Rwy'n credu bod fy ngwelliant i yn gliriach, achos y ffaith ei fod e'n gwneud yn glir yn y gyfraith fod 'Senedd Cymru' yn meddwl 'Welsh Parliament'. Nawr, rwy'n derbyn beth mae Rhun yn ddweud, sef bod yna ryw fath o gonfensiwn anffurfiol lle byddai pobl yn deall taw 'Parliament for Wales', fel mae e'n ei ddweud e, yw'r Senedd, ac mae'n dweud bod hynny'n wir o'r gwelliant. Ond i fi, mae'n hollbwysig cael gwelliant fel gwelliant 85 sydd yn ei wneud e'n glir yn y gyfraith mai 'Senedd Cymru' yw 'Welsh Parliament'. Does dim coethan wedyn ynglŷn â'r term, ond, wrth gwrs, os edrychwn ni o 87 ymlaen i 94, y gwelliannau hynny, mae'n amlwg taw'r gair 'Senedd' fydd y prif air fydd yn cael ei ddefnyddio ynglŷn â disgrifio'r sefydliad hwn. Ac mae fe yn fy mhryderu i bod pobl, o fynd o un teitl doedd pobl ddim cweit yn deall i deitl arall fyddai llawer o bobl ddim cweit yn deall—ei fod e tipyn bach yn gynnar i fynd mor bell a hynna. Efallai, mewn blynyddoedd, bydd 'Senedd' yn rhywbeth sy'n hollol gyffredin, ac, wrth gwrs, byddwn i'n ddigon hapus i weld hynny, ond, yn y cyfamser, rwy'n credu ei fod e'n bwysig bod pobl yn deall taw hwn yw'r 'Senedd', wrth gwrs, ond hwn yw 'Welsh Parliament', achos, i lot o bobl—maen nhw'n deall y gair 'parliament' yn well na 'senedd', yn enwedig ar hyn o bryd. Wrth ddweud hynny, dydyn ni ddim yn bell o'n gilydd. Mae'n rhaid i mi ddweud hynny. Ac, mewn ffordd, mae Aelodau'n gorfod gwneud eu meddyliau lan, wrth gwrs.
Gaf i ddweud, cyn eistedd, fod y gwelliannau hyn yn adlewyrchu barn y nifer mwyaf o Aelodau Llafur y lle yma—nid y mwyafrif, ond y nifer mwyaf? So, mae fe'n bwysig bod yna gyfle i Aelodau ystyried y gwelliannau hyn er mwyn mynegi barn. Does yna ddim chwip, wrth gwrs, ac mae hwnna'n hollol amlwg achos mae rhai o fy nghymdogion i wedi cefnogi gwelliannau o bleidiau eraill ac, wrth gwrs, wedi dodi gwelliannau ymlaen—[Torri ar draws.] A dyma un ohonyn nhw nawr yn moyn siarad.
I think my amendment is clearer, because it makes it clearer in law that 'Senedd Cymru' means 'Welsh Parliament'. I accept Rhun’s comment, namely that there is some sort of informal convention where people would understand that a 'Parliament for Wales', as it’s described in his amendment, is what the Senedd is, and that is true of the amendment. But for me, it’s crucially important to have an amendment such as amendment 85 that makes it clear in law that 'Senedd Cymru' is 'Welsh Parliament'. There can be no argument about the terminology then, but, of course, if we look through 87 to 94, those amendments, it’s clear that the word 'Senedd' will be the main word used in describing this institution. And it does concern me that, in moving from one title that people didn't quite understand to another that many people wouldn't quite understand—that it's slightly early to go that far. Maybe, in years to come, 'Senedd' will be very common indeed, and I would be perfectly happy to see that, but, in the meantime, I think it is important that people understand that this is the 'Senedd' but it's also the 'Welsh Parliament'. Because, for many people, they understand the word 'parliament' better than they understand the word 'senedd' at the moment. Having said that, we're not very far apart at all. I have to say that. And, in a way, Members will have to make their own minds up, of course.
May I say before concluding that these amendments reflect the views of the majority of Labour Members here—not the majority, perhaps, but the largest number, rather? And it is important that Members have an opportunity to consider these amendments and express their views. There is no whip applied, of course, and that's clear, because some of my colleagues have supported amendments tabled by other parties and have tabled amendments of their own. [Interruption.] And here's one of them now to speak.
Mae'n wir i ddweud bod y grŵp Llafur, wrth gwrs, wedi cytuno, a bod yna gytundeb ar draws y grŵp ar yr egwyddor o ddwyieithrwydd. Dwi ddim yn credu ei fod yn bosibl dweud bod Aelodau Llafur yn cytuno â phob un o'r gwelliannau, achos chawsom ni ddim cyfle i'w gweld nhw.
It's true to say that the Labour group, of course, did agree and that there is consensus across the group on the principle of bilingualism. I don't believe that it's possible to say that Labour Members agree with each one of the amendments, because we didn't have an opportunity to see them.
Na, mae hynny'n wir. Ond maen nhw'n adlewyrchu beth oedd barn y nifer mwyaf. Dwi ddim yn dweud taw'r mwyafrif, dwi ddim yn dweud roedd pawb—dŷn ni'n gwybod hynny, a dyna pham, wrth gwrs, does dim chwip, a fyddai fe ddim yn rhywbeth call i gael chwip ymhlith y rheini ohonom ni sydd ar y meinciau cefn ynglŷn â hwn. Ond, i fi, yn gyntaf, y fantais yw ein bod ni'n cael sicrwydd cyfreithiol, yn ail, bod y cyhoedd yn wir ddeall beth yn gymwys yw 'Senedd', ond yn drydydd, hefyd, fod y 'Senedd' yn cael ei ystyried fel rhywbeth, fel term, sy'n cael ei ddefnyddio'n gyffredinol ar draws Cymru i ddisgrifio nid dim ond yr adeilad ond, wrth gwrs, y sefydliad ei hunan, yn yr un ffordd ag y mae pobl yn siarad am y Dáil yn Iwerddon, a byth yn cyfeirio, wrth gwrs, at 'Irish Parliament', heb law eu bod nhw'n trial esbonio beth yw ef i bobl tu fas i Iwerddon.
Felly, dwi yn symud gwelliannau 85 ac 87. Mae'r gwelliannau eraill, wrth gwrs, yn dilyn o'r gwelliannau hynny. Felly, ynglŷn â sicrwydd, pe na bai 85 ac 87 yn cael eu cefnogi gan y Cynulliad, wel, felly, byddai'n rhaid, wrth gwrs, peidio â chefnogi'r gwelliannau eraill er mwyn creu'r sicrwydd hwnnw. Ond rwy'n gobeithio y bydd yr opsiwn hwn yn cael ei ystyried fel rhywbeth byddai'r Cynulliad eisiau ei gefnogi. Diolch.
No, that's true. But they do reflect the views of the largest number. I'm not saying a majority, I'm not saying everybody—we don't know that, and that's why, of course, there is no whip, and it wouldn't be wise to have a whip for those on the backbenches on these issues. But, for me, first and foremost, the advantage is that we have legal assurance and certainty, secondly, that the public truly do understand what a 'Senedd' is, but, thirdly, also that the 'Senedd' is used in common usage across Wales to describe not just the building, but, of course, the institution itself, just as people talk of the 'Dáil' in Ireland and never refer to 'Irish Parliament' unless they're trying to explain what a 'Dáil' is to people outside Ireland.
So, I do move amendments 85 and 87. The other amendments are consequential to those amendments. And if 85 and 87 aren't supported by the Assembly, then we couldn't support the other amendments either, in order to provide that assurance and certainty. But I do hope that this option will be considered as something that the Assembly would want to adopt and support. Thank you.
I'm pleased to make my first contribution in this important committee stage. Can I say that we, the Welsh Conservatives, will be supporting Carwyn Jones's amendments, which will give the Assembly the new bilingual title of 'Senedd Cymru' or the 'Welsh Parliament'?
I do commend the tone of the debate. I think it's very useful that we're discussing the two most obvious options in a very mature way and a respectful way, and that, I think, is to be welcomed. But, for us, Plaid Cymru and also the Brexit Party, their amendments would create a monolingual name—for Plaid, obviously, 'Senedd' in Welsh, or, for the Brexit Party, just an English title in 'Parliament'—and we do not think this is appropriate. We celebrate the fact that we are a bilingual nation and we aspire to be more fully one, and that bilingualism from the very start of devolution in Wales was at its heart. And I think it's been a wonderful achievement. Many of us 20 years ago had no experience of working in a genuinely bilingual environment. And the way we conduct debates, the outstanding translation we get—we get full and proper law-making through English and Welsh, and I think that should be reflected in the title of this institution. I think it celebrates both the magnificent worlds we live in in the English-speaking world and the Welsh-speaking world, and that combination makes Wales a most exceptional place. I will give way to Rhun.
Thank you. Would you agree with me—and this is a point I raised earlier this week—that, in pursuing a bilingual nation, which, surely, is something that we all aspire to, that needn't mean compartmentalising us into Welsh speakers and non-Welsh speakers, telling non-Welsh speakers, 'This is what you call this institution' and Welsh speakers, 'This is what you call it'. Do you understand my argument about those words that transcend linguistic barriers, from 'eisteddfod' to 'cwtsh' to 'hiraeth' to 'hwyl', and that 'Senedd' has already begun to become one of those transcending words and that, indeed, through our leadership, it can certainly be cemented in that way?
I completely accept there's merit on both sides here. We're choosing between two good options, I think, but I do believe our option, as advanced by Carwyn Jones, is the better of the two. But I do accept the force of your argument and the spirit in which it is made.
One thing that's not been mentioned yet and that's, in the consultation to this Bill, the public who were asked strongly favoured a bilingual name, and I think that ought to play some part in our discussion here. I also think, for the outside world, just as the Dáil is referred to as the 'Irish Parliament', or one of the houses of the Irish Parliament, I do think including the word 'parliament' in our title, in a bilingual title, sends that message to the rest of the world that we do have the full dignity of a law-making institution in Wales. And I know our most esteemed former Presiding Officer—and inaugural Presiding Officer, indeed—Dafydd Elis-Thomas, celebrates the word 'assembly', and he's quite right; it is used in many countries to mean parliament, but not in the English-speaking world, really, and that's why, I think, that we prefer 'parliament'.
I do, however, want to refer to what's likely to be the usage, because I think that's a reasonable point to make. I refer to the institution as the Senedd, I must say, because, at the minute, I think that's the best description, because 'senedd' is the word for it in Welsh, and we've still got the word 'assembly' in English, which we are trying, in a slightly clumsy way through our legislative competence, to do. Okay. I will give way again.
Just very briefly again, I would argue that 'senedd' is a bilingual word. Are you suggesting that we're somehow special because we can use 'senedd' and those outside can't?
Well, I'd encourage others to use it as well. I use 'Dáil', and I know what it means, so I have no difficulty there.
I think, in common usage, it is likely to be called the Senedd, but not everyone will. I'll be very relaxed; I certainly will use it. And this is not uncommon. Parliament is as often referred to as 'Westminster' as it is 'Parliament', so, you know, these things will be established by common usage. But, in the actual Act, I think we should state our full bilingual dignity. So, anyway, that's the reason we will be supporting Carwyn Jones.
In terms of the other amendments, we will support Alun Davies's amended versions of them—namely amendments 87 and 94—as this leaves Members of this Assembly with the designation 'Members of the Welsh Parliament', which we prefer. Otherwise, we feel the version put forward by Carwyn Jones would result in the designation 'MSC', and because that has obvious academic references, that would cause some confusion. I don't know if anyone in here holds an MSc; I've an MA, but you could be—[Laughter.] Self-promotion is every recommendation, in my view. So, we could have some MScs MSCs. [Laughter.] I know in Germany you have lots of Doctor Doctors, and that's an actual title without the following joke, but I do think that we need to establish an acronym that is slightly more exclusive in its use than the confusion that would cause. So, we will be going along the lines suggested by Alun Davies.
Then the other amendments that I've got are basically amendments to amendments. We have quite a few of these in this Bill, and I know we can rely with alacrity on your ability, Deputy Presiding Officer, to steer us through all this, but I don't envy you this afternoon and this evening, I must say. But, anyway, our amendments to amendments relate to what the Counsel General has put forward in terms of the designation, and they basically then amend so that Alun Davies's version is reflected in the Counsel General's amendments. So, having said that—. We will also be supporting some of Caroline Jones's amendments that achieve the same designation, and, with that, I move our amendments in group 1.
I think this debate goes to the heart of who we are and who we want to be, and the sort of country we want to live in as well. I'm not one of those people who dismiss the debates and discussions about names and titles as being merely a—I'll start again—names and titles as not being important to the political debate about what this place should be and is. The Labour Party has, for a century, at different times campaigned for a Parliament. It was in Keir Hardie's manifesto when he was elected to represent Merthyr and Aberdare, and who can forget S.O. Davies's campaign for a Welsh Parliament through the 1950s as well? It was a Labour campaign for a Parliament for this place, a Parliament in this country, home rule for Wales, to ensure that Wales is governed on the same basis as the other countries of the United Kingdom.
And, in establishing a Parliament in this place, we did so not on the basis of simply a number of technical issues, but on the basis of our values—what we believe in and who we are as a country and who we want to be as a nation. And it was important to me, and I think it's important to all of us in different ways, although we express it differently, that bilingualism is at the heart of that. Both our national languages have a place in this Parliament and have a place in this Chamber, and have a place in how we organise our business here. It is right and proper that we can choose the language that we participate in in the business of this place and that both languages are accorded equal respect and that that bilingualism is a real, live bilingualism. It's not the bilingualism that sometimes we hear and sometimes we see from institutions that don't really believe in it. It's not the bilingualism that's sometimes a painful bilingualism, which we listen to in the declaration of election results on some occasions. And we've all heard that—it's not a real, live bilingualism; it's a fake bilingualism. But I want to see the real bilingualism, the vitality of our languages, the vitality of our cultures in Wales, represented here in who we are and what we are. That's why I'm going to support Carwyn Jones's first amendment.
But, in supporting his first amendment, I'm not going to support his other amendments, unfortunately, because bilingualism doesn't simply stop at the nameplate at the entrance to this place. It doesn't stop at the headed notepaper we may use from time to time. It should be at the centre and at the heart of what we do here. I do not understand how you can propose to have a bilingual title in amendment 88, is it—86—and then move forward to amendments 86, 88 and 89 with monolingual amendments. There is no intellectual consistency at all. And I'm happy for the former First Minister to intervene, should he wish to do so. You cannot—. Oh, well, here we go. [Laughter.]
Can I thank my colleague for his invitation to intervene? The point, surely, is this: the reason why all the amendments after 85 are phrased in the way they are is in order to secure the use of 'Senedd' as the working title of this place. That's the reason for it. So, we have a legal definition and then we have all the amendments that deal with what the convention should be in the future. And let's not pretend that Welsh and English are languages of equal strength in society—they're not. And so it is important that, whilst we look at equality between the two languages, we do understand that it is not the case that the two languages are equal in strength in society.
I understand and appreciate that. But far from—. I don't wish to disagree with my learned friend, but I'm going to. You can't simply describe what you write in law as a working title. It is not a working title; it is the legal name. It is what is written in law; it is in statute. It isn't simply a brand and a name that we can use colloquially when we're sitting in the Dog and Duck. It is what is written in statute, and I do not belive that you can, on the one hand, claim to have a hardwired commitment to bilingualism in amendment 85, but that commitment to bilingualism does not reach amendment 86. I believe, if you have an amendment that recognises the bilingual nature of this place, then that should be consistent through the parts and names of all parts of this institution and not simply on the front door.
Thank you for taking an intervention. Would you agree that our amendment also succeeds in achieving exactly what you're calling for, which is to have that bilingualism within the legislation? The legislation makes it very clear that it is a Senedd in Welsh and a Parliament in English, but that you have a common bilingual name in 'the Senedd' that fits all of us in Wales, whatever our choice of language.
Look, Rhun, like David Melding, this isn't something that I want to spend time disagreeing over, because many of us will use different terms and titles in our everyday lives. As somebody who, of course, speaks Welsh, I use the word 'Senedd' and have done for quite some years and I have no issue with that. But I also recognise that I represent people who do not do that, and I believe that the importance of rooting this place in the people we represent means that we must also use the language that people speak, and that means using both our national languages, not simply one of them but both of them, and doing so in a way that guarantees the equality that we both seek to see. So, I hope that this won't be seen as a divisive debate and one where we are simply arguing for an English-only approach, because I wouldn't support that either. And I wouldn't support the amendments from the Brexit Party for that reason. But I will support an effective, strong, living, vibrant bilingualism, which is what we've all fought for in different ways for many years.
When I was establishing—or when the First Minister at the time was launching the strategy to create a million Welsh speakers, to change fundamentally the nature of the future of Wales, we were doing so to strengthen and to empower the Welsh language, to strengthen and empower people to speak and to use Welsh. But we weren't doing that in order to weaken and to make people feel threatened who didn't speak Welsh and spoke only English. So, we were doing that in order to ensure that we do have two vibrant language communities in Wales, both of which should be represented here in this place.
The amendment, Deputy Presiding Officer, that sits in my name in this debate is that over what we call ourselves as Members, and that has to be understandable to people throughout this country. I think the Government's amendment is probably the worst of all worlds. I don't believe it has the support that the Government is claiming for it. I do not believe that it is one that will be used as a means of understanding and for rooting an understanding of what we do and what is done here. Now, if it was simply a neutral term, one that didn't help to understand, then it wouldn't be so bad. But I believe it's worse than that, in fact. It's something that will create a barrier to understanding and a blockage to understanding of what we do and what we are and what this place is. It's already been pointed out that 'MSC' is already in use in this country as an academic suffix, and it will directly lead to confusion, but it will also not help people that we represent understand what we do.
The 'Member of the Welsh Parliament' amendment in my name sits easily in the existing terminology of Members of Parliaments in different places. We have MSPs, we have MPs we have MEPs. There is no reason at all why you can't have an MWP, which will help understanding, which will enable people to understand what we do here, which will increase clarity, increase transparency—
Isn't there an issue, though, that we say 'Members of the Parliament' as that one, and that this is a 'Member of the Welsh Parliament'? What we're doing in introducing 'Senedd', of course, is bringing in that unique, rather than setting ourselves as being deferential to the other.
I hope that understanding is important as well, and I believe—. In the Welsh language, I would be very happy for us to be called Aelodau Seneddol, Aelodau'r Senedd or Aelodau Senedd Cymru, and I prefer the first two rather than the last, quite frankly. But, in the English language—and my amendment goes to the English language version of this legislation and not to the Welsh language part of this legislation—we need to use terminology and words that are understandable in the English language and that describe, in the English language, what this place is and what we do and who we are. The Government amendment, I believe, is the worst of all worlds. It adopts a suffix that is already in use. It will lead to confusion, it will lead to barriers to understanding, it will not lead to greater transparency and greater clarity and it will not help us root this institution in the communities of the country that we seek to represent.
I rise to move amendment 106 in the name of Caroline Jones and the other amendments in her name in group 1 on the name of the National Assembly for Wales. I'd like to commend Rhun on his, I thought, very good initial speech, which I listened to very carefully and I thought was thoughtful. The comments made by David Melding I'll also associate myself with. I think the tone of the debate so far has been good.
Our amendment was submitted in English, having considered the English version of the Bill. We would like to see, given the parity of esteem for the languages that we have in this institution, that—while we have no objection to 'Senedd' being the description in the Welsh language version of the Bill, or indeed 'Senedd Cymru' if that is preferred, we believe that in the English version of the Bill we should have the English descriptor 'Welsh Parliament'. We think that is important in terms of genuine bilingualism and parity of esteem. Yes, I think this building has a certain degree of recognition as Senedd, but, to me at least, that descriptor has traditionally attached to the building more than it has to the institution.
As an institution, we had a very significant consultation with the people of Wales where we asked their views, and the very strong message that came back from that was that, in English, we should be known as the Welsh Parliament. I don't agree with Rhun when he says it is enough that it should just be up there on the door in smaller letters beneath 'Senedd'—that somehow that gives the parity of esteem. It does not, and I think we should give equal precedence to 'Welsh Parliament' in English as we do to 'Senedd' in Welsh.
What we have seen is we need to make the whole of Wales feel that this is their institution, that this is their Parliament, and, representing south-east Wales, I am concerned that people who live close to the border with England, people who do not speak Welsh, people who listen primarily to or absorb UK-wide media, should feel this is as much their institution as it is those of us in the country who speak Welsh, on which basis I give way to Delyth.
Thank you very much for giving way. I am listening to your contribution and I would ask if you could explain how the case you're making for how you want this institution to belong to all the people of Wales sits alongside what other members of your party have said in terms of wanting this institution to be abolished.
It's not the position of our party or our group.
Not in this place, but other members of the Brexit Party have.
Well, I cannot answer for every single supporter the Brexit Party may have, but the position of the Brexit Party group is that we support this institution and we would like devolution to work. I think an important part of that is calling our institution by a name that resonates with the whole of Wales, and in English, at least for a substantial proportion of the population, that is 'Welsh Parliament'.
We have had an evolution in devolution. When this institution was set up, we clearly had fewer powers than the Scottish Parliament, and notwithstanding the comments earlier, I believe it was intended that being called an Assembly, as the London Assembly is, was showing that we had fewer powers than were given to the Scottish Parliament; at least, that was one aspect, in my view, of the difference in name. However, now we have primary law-making powers and we have substantial tax-raising powers, and irrespective of people's views about how far devolution should go—and we would like to have a stable settlement—we should call something what it is. To the extent that we have developed, in English terminology, from the powers and function of an Assembly to that of a Parliament, it is important that we should update what we are called to say that we are not the Welsh Assembly, in colloquial language, but the Welsh Parliament. That is the purpose and intention of our amendments put in the name of Caroline Jones, and I would appeal to Members for support for them.
Dwi'n siarad y prynhawn yma fel llefarydd Plaid Cymru ar yr iaith Gymraeg. Ym mis Tachwedd 2018, gwnes i osod safbwynt Plaid Cymru ynglŷn ag enw ein Senedd cenedlaethol yn hollol glir. Meddais i bryd hynny:
'Safbwynt Plaid Cymru ydy y dylai fod yr enw "Senedd" yn cael ei arddel ar gyfer y sefydliad hwn yn nwy iaith swyddogol Cymru, ac y dylai Aelodau gael eu galw yn "Aelodau o'r Senedd"...yn y Gymraeg, ac yn "Member of the Senedd"...yn Saesneg.'
Does yna ddim byd wedi newid o ran ein safbwynt ni ers hynny. Yn fy nghyfraniad heddiw, dwi am gyflwyno dadleuon clir, gan obeithio perswadio y rhai ohonoch chi sydd â meddyliau agored am rinweddau defnyddio 'Senedd'—a 'Senedd' yn unig.
Yn gyntaf ydy'r ddadl o gadw pethau yn syml. Fel un a fu yn gweithio ym maes cyfathrebu am 30 mlynedd, dwi'n gwybod pa mor bwysig ydy cadw pethau yn syml. Mae cael un enw syml yn gwneud synnwyr llwyr o safbwynt cyfathrebu. Mae 'Senedd' yn adleisio 'Senate', sy’n cael ei ddefnyddio mewn gwladwriaethau eraill. Felly, mae o'n air cwbl ddealladwy; mae o'n hawdd ei ynganu ac mae’n golygu y gallwn ninnau fod yn Aelodau o’r Senedd neu’n Members of the Senedd.
Yn ail ydy'r ddadl dros osgoi dryswch. Mae defnyddio 'Senedd' yn lle 'Parliament' yn rhoi dŵr clir rhwng y sefydliad yma a’r Parliament sydd yn San Steffan. Byddai 'Senedd' yn osgoi dryswch. Fel arall, byddai pobl yn cyfeirio at ‘the Parliament’—ie, ond pa un ydym yn sôn amdano fo? Bydd pobl yn gymysglyd iawn os oes dau sefydliad o’r enw 'Parliament'. Llawer iawn gwell ydy cael un enw ac un enw unigryw. Ac o roi enw unigryw i’n sefydliad cenedlaethol ni, mi fyddai modd gwahaniaethu rhyngom ni a’r sefydliad hwnnw yn Llundain sydd yn isel iawn ei barch ar hyn o bryd.
Y drydedd ddadl ydy bod cynnig dau enw yn awgrymu—
I speak this afternoon as the Plaid Cymru spokesperson on the Welsh language. In November 2018, I set out the Plaid Cymru standpoint as regards the name of our national Senedd quite clearly. I said:
'Plaid Cymru's view is that the name "Senedd" should be used for this institution in both our official languages, and that Members should be called "Aelodau o'r Senedd"...in Welsh, and "Member of the Senedd"...in English.'
Nothing has changed since then from the point of view of our views on that. In my contribution today, I wish to present clear arguments in the hope of persuading some of you who have open minds about the virtues of using 'Senedd'—and only 'Senedd'.
The first is the debate of keeping things simple. As one who used to work in the field of communications for 30 years, I know how important it is to keep things simple. Having one simple name makes complete sense from the communications point of view. 'Senedd' echoes 'Senate', which is used in other states and therefore it is a completely understandable word. It’s easy to pronounce and it means that we can be 'Aelodau o’r Senedd' or 'Members of the Senedd'.
Secondly, it’s the argument for the avoidance of confusion. Using 'Senedd' instead of 'Parliament' puts clear water between this institution and the Parliament in Westminster. 'Senedd' would avoid confusion. Otherwise, people would refer to the Parliament—yes, but which one are we talking about? People will get very confused if there are two institutions termed 'Parliament'. It would be very much better to have one name and one unique name. And in giving our national institution an unique name, it will be possible to distinguish between ourselves and the institution in London that is not very well respected at present.
The third argument is that proposing two names—
Will you take an intervention?
Thanks for giving way. In many ways, I have got a lot of sympathy for the 'Senedd' argument, and there is a certain clarity there. But in terms of what you've just said, we already have a Scottish Parliament and a Westminster Parliament. Are you honestly saying that there is massive confusion there—that the people in Scotland don't where the different responsibilities lie? I don't believe that the argument that you are using there is adequately supporting the case in the way that Rhun ap Iorwerth's did.
Dwi'n credu bod y sefyllfa yn yr Alban yn wahanol oherwydd rydym wedi cael y gair 'Parliament' o'r cychwyn yn fanna. Yn fan hyn, mae yna ddryswch ynglŷn a 'National Assembly for Wales', 'Welsh Government'—y dryswch yna yn digwydd beth bynnag. Mae dod rŵan â 'Welsh Parliament' i fewn, lle mae modd yn hytrach mynd yn syth i ddefnyddio 'Senedd'—dwi'n meddwl bod hynny'n gwneud y sefyllfa yn llawer iawn cliriach ac yn osgoi y dryswch yna.
Dwi'n sôn am ddadl arall, ynglŷn â bod yna ddau gategori o ddefnyddwyr iaith yng Nghymru. Dwi ddim yn credu bod hon yn ddadl gref o gwbl. Hynny yw, y ddadl ydy, rydych unai yn siarad Cymraeg neu rydych yn siarad Saesneg, ac felly bod angen enw Cymraeg i siaradwyr Cymraeg ac enw Saesneg i siaradwyr Saesneg. Ond does yna ddim dau gategori. Yn hytrach, beth sydd gennym ni yw continwwm ieithyddol, fel mae cynigion y Llywodraeth ar gyfer y Gymraeg yn y cwricwlwm addysg newydd yn dangos.
Mae’r Gymraeg yn iaith i bawb, fel mae strategaeth y Llywodraeth, 'Cymraeg 2050', yn nodi. Mae’r Gymraeg yn iaith i bawb ac mae’r Gymraeg yn britho sgyrsiau o Went i Wrecsam, o Fôn i Fynwy. Dyna chi 'cwtsh' a 'twp', 'mam', 'tadcu', 'mamgu', 'taid', 'nain', 'hiraeth', 'hwyl', ac yn y blaen, fel yr oedd Rhun yn sôn. Gadewch i 'Senedd' hefyd fod yn rhan o iaith bob dydd pawb yng Nghymru. Gan droi at fy mhedwerydd dadl, mae 'Senedd' yn enw unigryw, yn ychwanegu at ein hunaniaeth ni. Dyma gyfnod lle mae hunaniaeth yn bwysig i bobl, fel arf yn erbyn byd sy’n mynd yn gynyddol unffurf.
Ac yn bumed, mae 'Senedd' yn rhoi hunaniaeth i’r sefydliad hwn ar lefel ryngwladol, yn ychwanegu at ein brand ni fel gwlad. Does yna ddim 'Senedd' arall yn yr holl fyd. Defnyddiwn y ffaith hwnnw i gadarnhau ein statws fel gwlad gyda'i hiaith a'i diwylliant ei hun, a gydag enw unigryw i'w deddfwrfa. Ers 1999 mae'r sefydliad yma wedi tyfu a grymuso, ac roedd yn fraint o'r mwyaf imi gael dod yma i gynrychioli pobl fy ardal fel Aelod Cynulliad yn 2016. Braint o'r mwyaf fyddai parhau i wneud y gwaith fel Aelod o'r Senedd.
Dwi yn cytuno mai newid bychan ydy o, a bod yna drafodaethau llawer pwysicach angen eu cynnal am iechyd, addysg, trafnidiaeth, yr argyfwng hinsawdd, cydraddoldeb, tlodi plant ac ati, ond mi fyddai hi'n drueni colli'r cyfle gwych hwn i roi un enw syml Cymraeg ar ein deddfwrfa genedlaethol, sef, Senedd.
I think that the situation in Scotland is different, because they’ve had the word 'Parliament' from the very outset there. Here, there is confusion as regards the 'National Assembly for Wales', 'Welsh Government'—confusion that already exists anyway. Now, bringing the term 'Welsh Parliament' in, where it’s possible just to go directly to use the word 'Senedd'—I think that makes the situation much clearer and avoids that confusion.
I’m talking about another argument, namely having two categories of language users in Wales. I don’t believe that this is a very strong argument at all. That is, the argument is you either speak Welsh or you speak English, and therefore you need a Welsh name for Welsh speakers and an English name for English speakers. But, there aren’t two categories. Rather, what we have is a linguistic continuum, as the Government’s proposals for Welsh in the new education curriculum demonstrates.
Welsh is a language for everybody, as the Government's strategy 'Cymraeg 2050' notes. Welsh is a language for all, and the Welsh language peppers conversations from Gwent to Wrexham, from Môn to Monmouthshire—'cwtsh', 'tadcu', 'hiraeth', 'hwyl', et cetera, as Rhun mentioned. Let’s have 'Senedd' as part of the everyday language of everybody in Wales. Turning to my fourth argument, 'Senedd' is a unique name and it adds to our identity. This is a period where identity is important to people as a tool to be used against an increasingly uniform world.
Fifthly, 'Senedd' gives this institution our international reputation and adds to our brand as a country. There is no other Senedd in the whole world. Let’s use that fact to confirm our status as a nation with its own language and culture, and a unique name for its legislature. Since 1999, this institution has grown and become stronger, and it was the greatest honour for me to come here to represent my area as an Assembly Member in 2016. It would be the greatest honour to continue to do that work as a Member of the Senedd.
I agree that it is a minor change and that there are much more important discussions on health, education, transport, the climate emergency, equality, child poverty and so on, but it would be a shame to miss this excellent opportunity to give one simple Welsh name to our national legislature, namely, Senedd.
I'll turn to English as I finish. I don't usually use English in the Chamber, but let's cwtsh up today. Let's not be twp. Let's say together, 'There's to be a Parliament for Wales, to be known as the Senedd.' Diolch.
It's a pleasure to rise in this debate, in the first section of amendments, and I'll speak to amendments 85 and 87A, if I may. I'd congratulate, as David Melding said in his opening remarks, the tone of the debate so far. We're arguing over two very strong cases here in fairness, but to me the compelling argument is how people outside this institution understand what we do, and beyond Wales as well. People understand the term 'Parliament' and 'parliamentary activities' and I think that's important for us to reflect and consider. Because in 2012 when I first raised this particular issue about how we needed to move from being an Assembly to being a fully fledged Welsh Parliament, when the Eisteddfod was held in the Vale of Glamorgan, there were strong arguments for and against that put on that very day. I can remember the Presiding Officer at the time, or the former Presiding Officer at the time, making the point about the French Assembly and how people wanted a continuation of the 'Assembly' term because people understood what we were doing in this institution. But obviously—I'll take the intervention in a minute, if I may—we've moved on from there now, we have, and with tax-raising powers and law-making powers, as well as a separate Government from the legislature, I do think it is really, really important that we do share the sentiments that Alun Davies, in his remarks, made about bilingualism, because that's really, really important in my book as someone who isn't a Welsh speaker at all, but respects the motives behind encouraging people to pick up our native language and run with it, so it becomes an everyday occurrence rather than an exceptionality. When I was growing up, in south Wales in particular, in Cardiff, it was the exception rather than the norm. Today we go around many of the shopping arcades, many of the community facilities, and very often you hear the rich dialect of Welsh being spoken, and long may that continue and be expanded. Rhun.
Just very briefly, and to point out that Andrew R.T. Davies slipped into his first sentence a word of the kind that we are describing here—'Eisteddfod'. You mentioned the Eisteddfod being in your constituency; you slipped from English to this bilingual, nebulous word 'Eisteddfod' very comfortably. What we're asking is for this place to give leadership in bringing 'Senedd' into national parlance, if you like, in the same way.
As someone who can massacre the English language, I'm sure you're very grateful that I don't familiarise myself with the Welsh language too often, because the damage I could do to the Welsh language would be unbelievable, most probably. But I accept the point.
In many conversations around Wales, whether it be at the kitchen table, whether it be in the pub or a meeting place, people thankfully today easily hop between the two languages, but as David introduced into this debate, the consultation that was undertaken by the Commission clearly showed that the people who responded to that consultation did want a bilingual name for this institution. Therefore, I think it's incumbent upon us as the legislators—although people have a free vote here today—to reflect on that consultation and actually replicate what people's wishes are. Because one of the biggest issues that we find is the lack of understanding of what this institution does and means to the people of Wales, and indeed beyond Wales around the rest of the United Kingdom as well. That is a massive problem. There was no prouder moment than when I got elected to this institution in 2007 and have been able to serve now for three terms, yet when I go just a couple of streets away from this building, precious few people understand what actually goes on in this building and what is done in their name. It's a small step, admittedly, and some of the measures that we will take further on in the process will hopefully again enlarge people's understanding and simplify people's ability to understand what we do within this building.
That's why I have no hesitation in supporting the amendment that's put down in the former First Minister's name. It wouldn't be very often I would have said over the seven years that I supported Carwyn Jones, and he might have sweated if I did say that too often, but I'm more than happy to support the amendment in the name of Carwyn Jones today, and then following on to support the amendment in Alun Davies’s name, because the argument that Alun Davies made is so simple and straightforward, it’s almost unarguable against. If we’re going to be called a Welsh Parliament, then we are Members of the Welsh Parliament. That is in the English language, and I appreciate, and I will not try and massacre the Welsh language part of it, but the Welsh translation follows quite easily as well then. So, surely it is a logical continuation of the journey that if you set the argument in the English language that this is a Welsh Parliament, then we are Welsh Parliamentarians, and rather than complicate it, keep it simple, keep it straightforward, go back to the consultation responses.
And I do regret that the Bill that has come forward hasn't retained the sentiment of the consultation, and we haven't had to have this debate, it was actually included in the body of the legislation, so that we could just move straight forward. However, the Commission chose not to do that, and I hope today, as legislators, we will correct that by supporting the amendment that Carwyn Jones has put down, and then supporting amendment 87A that Alun Davies, the Member for Blaenau Gwent, has put down. I was just going to finish.
Can I just quickly—? Thank you for taking the intervention before you sit down. I wanted to just draw attention to when you were saying that you didn't want to massacre the language: you're putting yourself down. I think that part of the spirit of our amendment was to encourage all Members—not all Members, but all people in Wales—to see the Welsh language as something belonging to them. And I know that you were doing that to be self-deprecating, but I fear sometimes that a lot of Welsh people who don't speak Welsh have this sense of it not being for them, and if we were to have a monolingual name that showed that it was for everyone, then it might start to break down that sense of the Welsh language being either for you or not. Do you accept that point?
I can see the point you're making, but I have to say, I can do it to the French language, I can do it Latin, as my school reports will show as well. In fact, my French master who taught me for five years, his last sentence in his final report for me was, 'I hope Andrew Davies doesn't come into any contact with the EEC, because, ultimately, he'll finish that as well, he will.' That was back in 1982.
But on that note, I do hope that people will support the amendment in Carwyn Jones's name, 85, and the amendment in Alun Davies's name about being called 'Members of the Welsh Parliament', and I do commend Members for the tone of the debate so far.
I rise in support of the amendment in the name of Rhun up Iorwerth, Hefin David and Mike Hedges. I hailed a taxi from Cardiff Central railway station recently, and I said to the taxi driver, 'Take me to the Senedd.' And off we went. And we arrived here. On the way, the taxi driver said, 'You're one of those Plaid Cymru people aren't you?' So, I said, 'Yes.' And he said, 'What’s the Welsh for "taxi"?' And I said, 'Well, what’s the English for "taxi"?' Because, of course, the word 'taxi' is Greek. And that’s the essential point in this debate today—no language is exactly pure.
All languages are amalgams of words borrowed and assimilated over centuries sometimes, certainly over very, many years, borrowed from other languages. There are, for example, over 1,000 words in Welsh that are from Latin. That refers to the time when the Roman empire was here 2,000 years ago. For 400 years there was an overlap between the Latin language and Old Welsh. So, we have 1,000 words of Latin in Welsh: 'ffenestr'/'window', 'pont' and, yes, 'senedd'. And, obviously, in the same way, English has also absorbed hundreds of words from other languages, from Norman French, from French, from Latin, from Greek. The list goes on: quid pro quo, pro bono, laissez-faire, sabotage, espionage, fait accompli. Now, let’s just take 'fait accompli'. It’s never directly translated straight afterwards, 'fait accompli/stitch up', like we are proposing 'Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament'. 'Fait accompli' is accepted as what it is. Nobody goes around saying, 'fait accompli/stitch up', and if you don't say 'stitch up', nobody knows what 'fait accompli' means. Because if we insist on translating everything because we think people cannot learn and will not understand. Where will it all end?
Some words of Welsh have been absorbed into English properly. We've heard some examples, but specifically 'eisteddfod'; 'penguin' is a Welsh word in English, and 'corgi' is a Welsh word in English. So, shall we address the Queen's dogs as 'corgis/miniature dogs' from now on, in order to protect people's sensitivities? And when we come to place names, we have Heol y Cyw in Bridgend; should it become 'Chick Road'? And Nantycaws, outside Carmarthen, should it become 'Cheese Brook' as well?
Now, we've been here before. I grew up in Meirionnydd when it had to be called 'Merioneth', otherwise plainly people would have no idea where they were. [Laughter.] And 'Dolgethly' instead of Dolgellau. No, it's Senedd. It's Senedd only, please. No alternative fait accompli.
Let me declare at the beginning that I fully support all the initiatives being put in place to expand the use of the Welsh language and applaud the Welsh Government's aim to have the language spoken by 1 million people by 2050. Indeed, I and Caroline Jones are learners of Welsh. However, if, as it appears, the change of name of the Assembly is to give it the same status as other Parliaments, then it is essential that the name we use can be understood not only here in Wales, but throughout the rest of the world. The name 'Parliament' is understood throughout all of the English-speaking world, which, incidentally, makes up 20 per cent of the world's population, some 1.5 billion people.
Will you take an intervention?
I would argue that Ireland has a pretty solid reputation internationally. They seem to get away with the Dáil.
Well, I'm not certain, if you walked up to a person in Australia and said 'the Dáil' without referring to it as the Irish Parliament that they would understand what you meant. [Interruption.] We could argue all night on that, but that is the situation, Rhun, I'm afraid.
As I understand it, the Welsh word for Parliament will be understood by just 0.5 million Welsh speakers, but will have to be translated for the other 2.5 million Welsh people who do not have the language. I have no objection to having 'Senedd Cymru' as the first name, but it must be accompanied by 'Welsh Parliament' alongside it.
Thank you. Can I now call the Counsel General?
Diolch, Dirprwy Lywydd. Rwy'n ddiolchgar i Carwyn Jones am gynnig y gwelliannau yma. Yn fy rôl fel Cwnsler Cyffredinol, mae gen i gyfrifoldeb penodol i wneud yr hyn y gallaf i sicrhau bod deddfwriaeth yn cyflawni egwyddor a chysyniad cyfraith dda. Er enghraifft, dylai fod yn glir ac yn hygyrch, a gadael y llyfr statud mewn cyflwr gwell nag yr oedd e cyn hynny, os yn bosib.
Dwi ddim yn cynnig unrhyw feirniadaeth, ond o edrych ar yr elfennau yn y Bil sy'n delio ag enw'r sefydliad, roeddwn i o'r farn nad oedd yr egwyddor honno wedi cael cymaint o sylw ag, efallai, y gallai hi fod wedi. Gwnes i drafod y materion hynny gyda Carwyn Jones, ei hunan yn gyn-Cwnsler Cyffredinol, ac fe wnaeth Carwyn gytuno i gynnig y gwelliannau yma i ddelio â'r cwestiwn hwnnw.
Thank you, Dirprwy Lywydd. I'm grateful to Carwyn Jones for moving these amendments. In my role as Counsel General, I have a specific responsibility to do whatever I can to ensure that the legislation made satisfies the requirements of good law. For example, it has to be clear and accessible, and it should leave the statute book in a better state than it was previously, if possible.
I mean no criticism, but looking at the elements in the Bill that deal with the name of the institution, I was of the view that that principle hasn't received as much attention as it should have done. I discussed these matters with Carwyn Jones, who himself is a former Counsel General, and Carwyn offered to move these amendments to address that question.
As a result of the way the issues are approached in the Bill, the result would be two sets of essentially duplicating provisions in the statute book. If we proceeded as the Bill proposes, after Royal Assent the provisions in the current sections 2 to 8 of the Bill would stand in their own right, but at the same time the Government of Wales Act 2006 would be amended with the aim of achieving exactly the same effect. So the statute book would contain duplicate, overlapping provisions in two different pieces of legislation: one that would be in English, and one that would be in Welsh and English. I hope Members will appreciate the undesirability of that outcome. So, the amendments proposed by Carwyn will produce a clearer and more accessible set of provisions, most of which will then be found in one place, our founding statute, the Government of Wales Act.
Finally, I refer to the replacement of the word 'Assembly' by the word 'Parliament' in what, if these amendments are accepted, will be an amended section 1(1) of the 2006 Act. That the Assembly should be able to change its name to a Parliament, if it so chose, was a central part of the legislation that gave the Assembly the powers to consider this Bill. The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee recommended that we secure a section 109 Order to put the position beyond doubt. But the Welsh Government’s judgment is, first, that this amendment is within competence, without the need for a section 109 Order, and, secondly, that the risk of legal challenge to this in the courts is minimal. Additionally, there will be practical challenges in obtaining consent, given developments in Westminster, if this were to be thought necessary, which it is not. So, I am happy to commend that amendment.
I invite the Assembly’s support for Carwyn’s amendments, and I invite Members to reject the other amendments in this group, including the Llywydd’s amendments 5 and 6, which are to Schedule 1, which Carwyn Jones—
Jest ar y diwedd fel hyn—rydyn ni'n clywed lot o ddadleuon cyfreithiol yn fanna rŵan, ac maen nhw'n ddryslyd i'r rhan fwyaf ohonom ni, dwi'n siŵr. A ydych chi wedi derbyn cyngor cyfreithiol i ddweud y byddai rhoi'r enw uniaith Gymraeg 'Senedd' fel yr enw swyddogol—a fyddai hynny yn anghyfreithlon?
Sorry, just finally—we are hearing a lot of legal arguments here, and it's very confusing for many of us, I'm sure. Have you received legal advice to state that giving the monolingual name 'Senedd' as the official name of the institution—would that be illegal?
Wel, fi sydd, wrth gwrs, yn darparu cyngor cyfreithiol i'r Llywodraeth, felly mae'r sylwadau rwy'n eu gwneud yn cydsynio gyda fy nadansoddiad i o'r sefyllfa gyfreithiol.
Fel roeddwn yn dweud, wrth gloi—.
Well, I provide legal advice to Government, so the comments I make are in accordance with my analysis of the legal situation as I understand it.
As I was saying, to conclude—.
The Llywydd’s amendments 5 and 6 I'm asking Members to reject, which would be to Schedule 1, which Carwyn Jones’s amendments would remove, but excluding the other technical amendments the Llywydd has proposed. Diolch.
Diolch. I call on the Llywydd.
Diolch, Dirprwy Lywydd. Ac i gychwyn dwi eisiau nodi wrth Aelodau na fyddaf yn pleidleisio ar y gwelliannau yr ydym yn eu trafod heddiw. Mae Rheol Sefydlog 26.17(iii) yn datgan mai dim ond er mwyn arfer pleidlais fwrw y caniateir i’r Llywydd neu’r Dirprwy Lywydd bleidleisio mewn trafodion Cyfnod 2 o Bwyllgor y Cynulliad Cyfan. Yn hytrach, fel yr Aelod sy'n gyfrifol am y Mesur cyfansoddiadol yma, byddaf i'n egluro’r rhesymau dros y gwelliannau yr wyf i wedi eu cyflwyno, ac yn ymateb i welliannau a gyflwynwyd gan eraill, er mwyn cynorthwyo Aelodau yma heddiw i benderfynu sut i bleidleisio ar welliannau i’r Mesur pwysig yma.
Dwi'n troi nawr, felly, at y materion dan sylw yn y grŵp cyntaf. Bydd yr Aelodau’n cofio penderfyniad unfrydol y Cynulliad yma ym mis Gorffennaf 2016 y dylai'r Cynulliad newid ei enw i adlewyrchu ei statws cyfansoddiadol fel Senedd genedlaethol. Dangosodd y ddadl Cyfnod 1 ar egwyddorion cyffredinol y Bil yma wahaniaeth barn ymhlith yr Aelodau ynghylch beth ddylai'r enw newydd fod, gan adlewyrchu barn amrywiol ymatebwyr i ymgynghoriad y Comisiwn ar newid enw'r Cynulliad. Gan hynny, nid yw'n syndod, o bosib, fod tri dewis ar gyfer enw newydd i'r Cynulliad yn cael eu cynnig drwy welliant heddiw, yn ychwanegol at yr enw a gynigir yn y Bil gwreiddiol.
Bydd yr Aelodau'n ymwybodol bod y Bil ar hyn o bryd yn darparu i'r Cynulliad gael ei alw'n 'Senedd', yn y Gymraeg yn unig. Mae’r Bil yn darllen y dylid adnabod y Cynulliad Cenedlaethol yn 'Senedd', felly yr enw 'Senedd', gyda disgrifiad er mwyn gwaredu unrhyw amheuaeth, sef 'Welsh Parliament'—enw syml a chlir. Mae'r enw 'Senedd' eisoes yn cael ei ddefnyddio'n eang a'i gydnabod yng Nghymru i ddynodi cartref democratiaeth Cymru, felly mae eisoes yn gyfarwydd yng Nghymru. Mae'r enw 'Senedd' yn perthyn i deulu rhyngwladol o enwau fel 'Senate' a 'Seanad', fel sydd wedi cael ei gyfeirio ato eisoes.
Yn ogystal, byddai newid enw'r Cynulliad i 'Senedd' yn unig yn adlewyrchu ymrwymiad cryf y Cynulliad yma i hyrwyddo statws y Gymraeg a'r defnydd ohoni. Yn hynny o beth, 'Senedd' yn y Gymraeg yw'r enw rwy’n ei ffafrio ar gyfer y lle hwn, fel yr Aelod sy’n cyflwyno’r ddeddfwriaeth, ond fel y dywedais o'r blaen, yr Aelodau yma heddiw sydd i benderfynu beth ddylai enw newydd y lle hwn fod.
Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. First, I would like to note that I will not be voting on the amendments that we're debating today. Standing Order 26.17(iii) states that the Llywydd or Dirprwy Lywydd may only vote in Stage 2 proceedings of a Committee of the Whole Assembly in order to make a casting vote. Rather, as the Member in charge of this constitutional Bill, I will explain the reasons for the amendments that I have tabled, and respond to amendments tabled by others, in order to assist fellow Members here today in deciding how to vote on amendments to this important Bill.
I now turn, therefore, to the relevant issues in the first group of amendments. Members will remember the unanimous decision made by this Assembly in July 2016 that the name of the Assembly should reflect its constitutional status as a national Parliament. That Stage 1 debate on the general principles of the Bill highlighted a difference of opinion among Members as to what the new name should be, which reflected the views expressed by various respondents to the Commission’s consultation on changing the name of the Assembly. Bearing that in mind, it is no surprise, perhaps, that there are three options for a new name for the Assembly proposed in amendments today, in addition to the name proposed in the Bill as drafted.
Members will be aware that the Bill currently provides for the Assembly to be called 'Senedd', in Welsh only. The Bill reads that the National Assembly should be known as the 'Senedd', so the name 'Senedd', with the descriptor 'Welsh Parliament', for the avoidance of any doubt—a clear and simple name. The name 'Senedd' is already widely used and recognised in Wales as denoting the home of Welsh democracy, so it is already familiar in Wales. The name 'Senedd' belongs to an international family of names such as 'Senate' and 'Seanad', as has been already referred to.
Also, changing the name of the Assembly to 'Senedd' solely will reflect the Assembly’s strong commitment to promoting the status and use of the Welsh language. In that regard, 'Senedd' in Welsh is my preferred name for this place, as the Member introducing the legislation, but as I have said previously, Members here today will decide what the name should be.
I'm grateful to the Member in charge. I think it would be useful for us to know why the Commission disregarded the consultation that was undertaken, which very firmly—it wasn't a close result—backed a bilingual designation?
As the Member in charge, I've been guided by many issues during the consideration of what name to put in the Bill that was published. The consultation—the highest majority favoured the bilingual name, as has been referred to already. Over 50 per cent also favoured 'Senedd' as a monolingual name. As I've said, and I said during the Stage 1 debates here, I would also be guided by what would command the majority in this place, and I consulted within individual Members and with political groups at that time, and I always have at the back of my own mind the fact that we need a super-majority to pass this legislation in its entirety. I made a judgment in presenting this Bill to this Senedd, but it will be ultimately, as we are here today, for you to vote, and to guide us in the choice of name that will be finally chosen for this place. So, that's how we came to today, but today moves us forward to the next stage following Stage 2, and we'll see how the votes fall as this afternoon continues.
Bydd yr holl ddewisiadau o enwau, wrth gwrs, sydd ger ein bron yn cyflawni'r uchelgais y cytunodd yr Aelodau arni yn 2016 i newid enw'r lle hwn i adlewyrchu ei statws cyfansoddiadol fel Senedd genedlaethol, ac mae'n bwysig cofio hynny. Fodd bynnag, dwi eisiau cyfeirio at rhai materion penodol mewn perthynas â gwelliant 94 yn enw Carwyn Jones. Mae'r gwelliant hwnnw'n newid y 12 gair cyntaf yn Adran 1(1) o Ddeddf Llywodraeth Cymru 2006, fel rhan o welliant i newid yr enw o ‘Senedd’ i 'Senedd Cymru'/'Welsh Parliament’. Fel y nodais pan oeddwn gerbron y pwyllgor cyfansoddiadol, mae cwestiwn dros gymhwysedd deddfwriaethol yn codi wrth drafod newid y geiriau hyn, sy’n creu elfen o risg, ac mae’n bwysig i Aelodau bwyso a mesur y risg hynny cyn pleidleisio heddiw.
Y mater nesaf, felly, yw teitlau'r Aelodau. Yn amlwg, bydd yr enw newydd y cytunir arno ar gyfer y lle hwn yn effeithio ar y teitlau newydd a fabwysiedir. Ni fyddai'n gwneud synnwyr mabwysiadu'r teitl 'Aelodau Senedd Cymru' os nad yw 'Senedd Cymru' yn rhan o'r enw y cytunir arno. Ac ni fyddai'n gwneud synnwyr caniatáu defnyddio'r teitl ‘Members of the Welsh Parliament’ os nad yw 'Welsh Parliament' yn rhan o’r enw newydd.
Rwyf wedi tynnu sylw'n flaenorol at ystyriaethau penodol o ran rhai dewisiadau ar gyfer teitlau newydd. Mae rhai wedi nodi’r perygl y gallai’r byrfodd 'AS' yn y Gymraeg am 'Aelod o’r Senedd' gael ei ddrysu â’r un byrfodd am 'Aelod Seneddol', yn enwedig o fewn cyd-destun lle cyfeirir at Aelodau’r ddwy ddeddfwrfa hynny. Fodd bynnag, credaf ei bod yn rhesymol disgwyl y bydd unigolyn neu sefydliad sy'n cyfeirio at Aelod o un neu'r ddwy ddeddfwrfa yn gallu dod o hyd i ffyrdd o'i gwneud yn glir i'r gynulleidfa at bwy y maent yn cyfeirio. Yn ogystal, mae'r acronym 'MWP', fel talfyriad o 'Member of the Welsh Parliament', wedi bod yn destun pryder yn y gorffennol ymhlith rhai Aelodau, er dydw i ddim yn cytuno â'r pryderon hynny fy hun, yn bersonol. Ac fel gwnaeth David Melding nodi, wrth gwrs, os cefnogir 'MSC' fel teitl, yna fe fyddaf i'n un o'r rheini fydd yn 'Elin Jones MSc MSC', ac felly mae hwnna'n ystyriaeth arall.
Wrth lunio’r Bil yma, a chymryd y penderfyniadau ar enw’r sefydliad ac enw’r Aelodau a etholwyd i’r sefydliad, mi oedd symlrwydd a gosgeiddrwydd yn bwysig i mi, yn ogystal ag arwyddocâd cyfansoddiadol a hygyrchedd yr enw. Dyna pam 'Senedd' yn y Gymraeg a'r Saesneg sydd ger eich bron heddiw, yn y Mesur gwreiddiol, a’r Aelodau'n 'Aelod o’r Senedd' a 'Member of the Senedd'.
Rydym yn pleidleisio heddiw ar benderfyniad a fydd yn perthyn i’r Senedd hon am ganrif a mwy i ddod. Nid enw 20 mlynedd yn unig fydd y nesaf, ond enw oes, ac mi ddylai’r enw hynny fod yr un enw ar wyneb y ddeddfwriaeth ac ar lawr gwlad.
All of the options before us today will achieve the ambition that the Members agreed upon in 2016 to change the name of this place to reflect its constitutional status as a national Parliament, and it’s important to bear that in mind. However, I would like to raise some specific issues regarding amendment 94 in the name of Carwyn Jones. That amendment changes the first 12 words of Section 1(1) of the Government of Wales Act 2006, as part of an amendment to change the name from 'Senedd' to 'Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament'. As I stated when I appeared before the Constitutional Affairs Committee, a question as to legislative competence arises when discussing changing these words, which creates an element of risk. It’s important that Members weigh up those risks before voting on this issue today.
The next issue, therefore, is the title of Members. Clearly, the new name agreed upon for this place will affect the new titles that are adopted. It wouldn’t make sense to adopt the title 'Aelodau Senedd Cymru' unless 'Senedd Cymru' is part of the name agreed upon. And it wouldn’t make sense to allow use of the title 'Members of the Welsh Parliament' if 'Welsh Parliament' isn’t part of the new name.
I have previously drawn attention to specific considerations in terms of some options for new titles. Some have remarked on the risk that the 'AS' suffix for 'Aelod o’r Senedd' could be confused with the same suffix for 'Aelod Seneddol', especially in contexts where reference is made to both legislatures. However, I believe that it’s reasonable to expect than an individual or institution referring to a Member of one or both legislatures will be able to find a way of making it clear to their audience to whom they are referring. Also, the acronym 'MWP', as an abbreviation of 'Member of the Welsh Parliament', has previously been a cause for concern among some Members. However, I don’t agree with those concerns personally. And as David Melding noted, of course, if 'MSC' is supported as a title, then I will be one of those people who will be 'Elin Jones MSc MSC'. That is another consideration.
In drawing up this Bill, and taking decisions on the name of the institution and the name of Members elected to the institution, simplicity and elegance were important to me, as well as the constitutional significance and accessibility of the name. That is why the option of 'Senedd' in Welsh and in English is before you today, in the Bill as presented, and Members as 'Aelod o’r Senedd' and 'Member of the Senedd'.
We’re voting today on a decision that will apply to this Senedd for a century and more. It’s not a name for 20 years, but a name for life. And that name should be the same on the face of the legislation as it is in common usage.
Thank you. I call on Adam Price to reply to the debate.
Diolch, Ddirprwy Lywydd. Dau gwestiwn, a dweud y gwir, sydd o'n blaenau ni yn y clwstwr yma o welliannau. A ddylid cael enw uniaith Gymraeg ar gyfer y sefydliad yma? A'r ail gwestiwn: a ddylen ni gael term unigryw Gymreig? Mae'r ddau gwestiwn, wrth gwrs, yn gysylltiedig, ac maen nhw'n ddau gwestiwn ar wahân.
O ran yr un cyntaf, wrth gwrs, mewn ffordd, mae'n rhyw adlais o gwestiwn arall yr oedd yr athronydd J. R. Jones wedi'i ofyn, dros 50 mlynedd a mwy yn ôl: 'A raid i'r iaith ein gwahanu?' Wel, does bosib, 'Na' ydy'r ateb i hynny erbyn hyn. Mae'r iaith Gymraeg yn eiddo i ni gyd. Dyna oedd neges, fel dŷn ni wedi clywed. Mae nifer o bobl wedi bod yn dweud hyn—Cymry di-Gymraeg ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasol, y llythyr agored gan 50 o wahanol bobl: cyn-arweinydd Cyngor Caerdydd, ymgeisydd Torïaidd ym Mro Morgannwg, Ross England, a chyn-gyfarwyddwr y Gymdeithas Diwygio Etholiadol, Steve Brooks—i gyd yn dweud y byddai cael yr enw 'Senedd' uniaith Gymraeg i'r sefydliad yma
Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. Two questions are before us in this cluster of amendments. Should there be a monolingual Welsh name for this institution? And the second question: should we have a uniquely Welsh term? Both questions, of course, are linked, and they’re both discrete.
And in terms of the first, of course, in a way it’s an echo of another question that the philosopher J. R. Jones posed over 50 years ago: does the language have to divide us? Well, surely the answer to that is ‘no’ by now, because the Welsh language belongs to us all. That was the message, as we’ve heard from a number of people who have been seeing this, and non-Welsh speaking Welsh people and the open letter from 50 different people—the former leader of Cardiff Council, the Tory candidate Ross England in the Vale of Glamorgan, and the former director of the Electoral Reform Society, Steve Brooks—all saying that having the monolingual Welsh name 'Senedd' for this institution
'would send a strong message that the Welsh language genuinely belongs to everyone regardless of their background.'
A dwi’n credu bod yna wers symbolaidd yn hynny, onid oes? Ydyn ni wedi cyrraedd y pwynt yna? Hynny yw, mae’r cyn Brif Weinidog a finnau â gwreiddiau yn yr un ardal, yn nyffryn Aman, ac yn nyffryn Aman dyw’r ddwy iaith ddim yn bodoli mewn bydoedd cyfochrog sydd byth yn cyffwrdd â’i gilydd, a rhyw gyfieithydd yn y canol—rhyw ‘glossolalia’ ydy’r term swyddogol. Hynny yw, mae’r Gymraeg a’r Saesneg yn britho’i gilydd nôl ac ymlaen, nôl ac ymlaen. Ac fel rŷn ni wedi clywed, mae rhai o’r geiriau gorau sydd gyda ni yn yr iaith Saesneg, sydd yn iaith genedlaethol, yn hollol. Wrth gwrs, dŷn ni’n falch iawn o’n Wenglish hefyd, a’r ffordd mae’r Gymraeg wedi cyfoethogi ein Saesneg ni. Mae yna rai geiriau Cymraeg sydd wedi codi i’r lefel lle maen nhw’n rhan naturiol bob dydd o’n hiaith Saesneg ni hefyd.
Oni ddylai fod 'Senedd' yn un o’r geiriau hynny? Dyna ydy’r cwestiwn sydd o’n blaenau ni. A gyda llaw, nid dadl newydd ydy hyn—20 mlynedd yn ôl a mwy, pan oedd y Ddeddf Llywodraeth Cymru gyntaf yn cael ei thrafod yn Nhŷ’r Cyffredin, mi oedd yna welliannau lawr i newid yr enw, ar y Mesur, yn 'Senedd'. Gwelliant roedd fy mhlaid i yn ei gefnogi, ond gwelliant gan y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol a gafodd gefnogaeth gan y Blaid—o leiaf dŷn ni wedi bod yn gyson ynglŷn â hyn—a chan Aelodau Llafur hefyd. Gaf i ddyfynnu un ohonyn nhw, y diweddar Paul Flynn?
And I believe that there is symbolic value to that, isn’t there? Have we arrived at that point? That is, the former First Minister and I have the same roots in the same area, in the Aman valley, and the two languages don’t exist on separate planets, as it were, because there’s no translator in the middle—‘glossolalia’ is the official term. It’s all assimilated. And as we’ve heard, some of the best words that we have are in the English language, which is a national language, obviously. We’re very proud of our Wenglish too, and the way in which the Welsh language has enriched our English. There are some Welsh words that have been elevated to the level where they are a natural part of our English language as well.
Shouldn’t 'Senedd' be one of those words? That’s the question before us. And by the way, this is not a new debate or a new argument—20 years ago or more, when the first Government of Wales Act was actually debated in the House of Commons, there were amendments tabled the change the name on the face of the Bill to 'Senedd'. It was an amendment that my party supported, but it was an amendment from the Liberal Democrats that was supported by Plaid Cymru—at least we’ve been consistent on this—and from Labour Members too. If I can quote one of them, the late Paul Flynn:
'the names of most national assemblies and Parliaments of various countries are known to the rest of the world by the name for a Parliament in their own languages? There is only one Knesset, one Duma, one Riigikogu and one Seimas.'
Fel dywedodd e ar y pryd, wrth gwrs:
As he said at the time, of course:
why use six syllables when you can you use two?
Nawr, rŷn ni wedi'i dorri fe lawr i bedwar yn y Saesneg fan hyn, ond dwi’n credu bod Paul fanna, yn ei ddoethineb, yn mynd â ni ymlaen i’r ail gwestiwn yntefe, mewn ffordd, achos un o’r pethau am gael enw gwreiddiol, unigryw Gymreig ydy ei fod yn dweud rhywbeth, nid yn unig am ein hiaith ond am ein democratiaeth. Oherwydd nid benthyg y cysyniad democratiaeth o rywle arall ŷn ni, rhywle arall sydd weithiau’n galw’i hunan yn fam Senedd-dai ac yn y blaen; nid dilyn rhyw dempled arall mohonon ni, a dweud y gwir. Mi ydym ni â thraddodiad cynhenid ein hunain, wrth gwrs. Mae yna gyfeiriad tuag at Senedd Glyndŵr eisoes wedi bod. Mae’r gair ei hunan, mewn ffordd, yn crisialu ein hanes, ein gwareiddiad ni—rhyw asiad, yntefe, o’n traddodiad Celtaidd a’n traddodiad Rhufeinig—Romanitas a Cheltigrwydd yn dod at ei gilydd mewn un gair. Hynny yw, yr un gair yn hen Gernyweg, 'Senedh', yr hen air yn Llydaweg, 'Senezh', a nawr, wrth gwrs, yr uwch-dŷ yng Ngweriniaeth Iwerddon, y Seanad, ac yn y blaen. Mae yno ym marddoniaeth Lewys Glyn Cothi, yn dweud hyn am Rhys ap Siôn:
'Senedd vawr llys Nedd yw vo, / Lutenant a’i wlad tano.'
Rhyw derm arall, efallai, ar gyfer Prif Weinidog, ond gwnawn ni ddim efallai mabwysiadu hynny.
Ond mae’n rhan o’n hanes ni. Ond mwy na hynny, wrth gwrs, mae e, rwy'n credu, yn fodd inni wahaniaethu, yntefe, rhwng y Senedd arall yna yn Llundain dwi wedi gorfod gwasanaethu ynddi, fel sawl Aelod arall. Rŷn ni eisiau bod yn wahanol. Mae’r ffordd rŷn ni wedi ymwneud â’n gilydd y prynhawn yma, dwi’n credu, yn dangos gwerthoedd gwahanol. Ein Senedd ni. Mi oedd y Senedd Rufeinig yna, y Senatus Romanus, yn cwrdd mewn hanner cylch, fel ŷn ni, yn lle’r traddodiad arall yna dŷn ni wedi gweld yn San Steffan—sydd, yn anffodus, ar ei waethaf yn ystod yr wythnosau diwethaf, yn mynd yn ben ben â'i gilydd.
Well, we’ve broken it down to four syllables in English here, but I believe that Paul there, in his wisdom, takes us to the second question, in a way, because one of the things about having an original, unique and Welsh name is that it says something, not only about our language but about our democracy. Because we are not borrowing the concept of democracy from elsewhere, another place that sometimes calls itself the mother of all Parliaments and so on; we’re not following some alternative template. That’s not what we’re doing. We do have our own innate tradition, of course. There has already been a reference to the Glyndŵr Senedd; we’ve already heard about that. And the word in itself crystallises our history. It’s some kind of an assimilation of our history and our Celtic and Romanitas traditions coming together in one word. It’s the same word in old Cornish, 'senedh', and in Breton, 'senezh', and also the upper house in the Republic of Ireland, the Seanad, and so on. And it’s there in the poetry of Lewys Glyn Cothi, when he talks about Rhys ap Siôn:
it’s a great Senedd, / a lieutenant ruling his country.
That's perhaps another term—lieutenant—for the First Minister, but we won't adopt that.
But it’s part of our history. But more than that, I believe it’s a means for us to distinguish between that other Parliament in London that I have had to serve in, as many other Members have. We want to be different. The way in which we have interacted this afternoon with each other shows the different values of our Senedd. That Roman Senedd, Senatus Romanus, met in a half circle, as we do, rather than the other traditiona that we have seen in Westminster—which, unfortunately, has been at its very worst over the past weeks, where confrontation is all.
By having a unique name that is based on our history just doesn't say that, actually, we have our own tradition here. It also says that we could have our own future. We can create our own unique democracy. We may be starting to pick up some of Westminster's bad habits by meeting too late tonight. Let's remember that commitment to family-friendly hours. That's very much at the forefront of my mind at the moment, as you can imagine. But, look, when new democracies are formed, I think Alun Davies is right: the naming of things, symbols, are important, because they say something about what you're trying to create. When the Dáil—. The first Dáil met 100 years ago this year, didn't it? They didn't call—. They'd had an Irish Parliament. And, by the way, that's the difference: the Scottish Parliament, when Winnie Ewing said, 'The Scottish Parliament is hereby reconvened', we couldn't have said that; we never had one like that. The Dáil, though, when it was created, it was a deliberate choice—they wanted a new word because they wanted to create a new Ireland that represented their values. And I think that's represented in the history of this institution and what we could become. We don't simply want to recreate the parliamentary tradition that has existed elsewhere; we want to create a Parliament that is fit for us, that belongs to us, that is part of our history and our tradition, yes, but also says something about a different kind of democracy that could be made here in Wales. And, indeed, the First Minister himself, I think, actually touched on this when he was asked about the idea of 'Senedd' versus 'Welsh Parliament'. And seeing as I'm—. I know he's not in his place, but, as I'm agreeing with him, I think it's fair for me to quote him. 'It does in a way'—using 'Welsh Parliament'
'does in a way, assume that the gold standard has been set somewhere else and what we have to do is recreate our own mini version and I'm not in favour of that',
'If I had to choose, I'd have to go with the Senedd because I am quite keen that we establish our still very new institution in ways that does not take a preexisting model elsewhere as the sort of template and that we're always judged against what has gone on somewhere else.'
And I couldn't put it better myself. And could I quote the former First Minister? In a letter he wrote to the Presiding Officer—the first bit is in Welsh and the second bit is in English, so it's quite appropriate, really:
'Yn ein barn ni, byddai'n well pe bai adran 1(1) o Ddeddf Llywodraeth Cymru yn darllen fel hyn yn y dyfodol'—
'In our view, it would be better if section 1 (1) of the Government of Wales Act were to read like this in future'—
so, this is the suggested amendment—
'There is to be a Parliament for Wales to be known as the Senedd'.
That is exactly the amendment that we're proposing, and I think there's a bit of poetry in there, isn't there?
'There is to be a Parliament for Wales'—
the indefinite article, the general—
'to be known as the Senedd'—
the definite article. You know, that's the beauty of what happens here. We're taking a universal principle—which is democracy, which exists in all kinds of Parliaments around the world—we're taking that universal principle and we're making it our own. We're turning the universal into the particular. And that's what every Parliament must do. And I have to say to—. I've listened to very sincere arguments and I think the Senedd should be commended on the quality of the debate and the way that we've engaged with each other. That civility, I think, is part of our unique culture, but let's celebrate that unique culture now and what it could be by naming ourselves as the Senedd that belongs to all the people of Wales.
Thank you. The question is that amendment 265 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Therefore, we'll proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 16, one abstention, 38 against, therefore that amendment is lost.
I now move to amendment 85. Carwyn, formally, to move.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 85 (Carwyn Jones).
Amendment 85 (Carwyn Jones) moved.
Yn ffurfiol, Dirprwy Lywydd.
Formally, Deputy Presiding Officer.
Thank you. If amendment 85 is agreed to, amendments 266, 106 and 107 fall. The question is that amendment 85 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Object. Right, we move to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 43, no abstentions, 13 against. Therefore, amendment 85 is agreed and amendment 266, amendment 106 and amendment 107 fall.
Methodd gwelliannau 266, 106 ac 107.
Amendments 266, 106 and 107 fell.
We now move to amendment 86. Carwyn to move.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 86 (Carwyn Jones).
Amendment 86 (Carwyn Jones) moved.
Yn ffurfiol, Dirprwy Lywydd.
Formally, Deputy Presiding Officer.
Thank you. If amendment 86 is agreed to, amendment 108 will fall. The question is that amendment 86 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Therefore, we proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 38, two abstentions, 16 against. Therefore, the amendment is agreed.
Methodd gwelliant 108.
Amendment 108 fell.
We now move to—. Can we now move to 87, amendment 87? I call on Carwyn Jones to move amendment 87.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 87 (Carwyn Jones).
Amendment 87 (Carwyn Jones) moved.
Yn ffurfiol, Dirprwy Lywydd.
Formally, Deputy Presiding Officer.
[Interruption.] Yes, that's right. I move to 87. Excuse me. I'm asking Carwyn to move amendment 87, and then we will move to the amendment to amendment 87. So, Carwyn to move.
Yn ffurfiol, Dirprwy Lywydd.
Formally, Deputy Presiding Officer.
Thank you. Right. So, as there is an amendment to 87, that amendment will be disposed of first. Alun Davies, amendment 87A.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 87A (Alun Davies).
Amendment 87A (Alun Davies) moved.
Yn ffurfiol. Thank you. The question is that amendment 87A be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Object. Therefore, there's an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 19, five abstentions, 32 against. Therefore, amendment 87A is not agreed to.
We now proceed to vote on amendment 87. If amendment 87 is agreed to, amendment 109 falls. Open the vote. Oh, sorry, does any Member object? We don't have to have a—. [Objection.] I thought you would, so—. Sorry—trying to save a couple of minutes there. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 25, four abstentions, 26 against. Therefore, amendment 87 is not agreed to.
So, we now move to amendment 109, and I ask Caroline Jones to move.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 109 (Caroline Jones).
Amendment 109 (Caroline Jones) moved.
You're moving 109. The question is that amendment 109 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Object. Therefore, we proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 17, no abstentions, 39 against. Therefore, amendment 109 is not agreed.
Carwyn Jones, amendment 88.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 88 (Carwyn Jones).
Amendment 88 (Carwyn Jones) moved.
Ffurfiol, Dirprwy Lywydd.
Formally, Deputy Presiding Officer.
If amendment 88 is agreed to, amendment 110 will fall. The question is that amendment 88 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Object. Therefore, we'll have an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the amendment 41, four abstentions, 11 against. Therefore, amendment 88 is agreed to and amendment 110 falls.
Methodd gwelliant 110.
Amendment 110 fell.
Carwyn Jones, amendment 89.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 89 (Carwyn Jones).
Amendment 89 (Carwyn Jones) moved.
Ffurfiol, Dirprwy Lywydd.
Formally, Deputy Presiding Officer.
Thank you. If amendment 89 is agreed to, amendment 111 will fall. The question is that amendment 89 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Object. Therefore, we proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 40, four abstentions, 12 against. Therefore, the amendment is agreed and amendment 111 falls.
Methodd gwelliant 111.
Amendment 111 fell.
Carwyn Jones, amendment 90.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 90 (Carwyn Jones).
Amendment 90 (Carwyn Jones) moved.
Yn ffurfiol, Dirprwy Lywydd.
Formally, Deputy Presiding Officer.
Thank you. If amendment 90 is agreed, amendment 112 will fall. The question is that amendment 90 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] We'll have an electronic vote, then. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 40, four against—sorry, four abstentions, 12 against. Therefore, the amendment is agreed and amendment 112 falls.
Methodd gwelliant 112.
Amendment 112 fell.
Carwyn Jones, amendment 91.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 91 (Carwyn Jones).
Amendment 91 (Carwyn Jones) moved.
Thank you. If amendment 91 is agreed, amendment 113 falls. The question is that amendment 91 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Therefore, we proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion, 41, four abstentions, 11 against. Therefore, the motion is agreed and amendment 113 will fall.
Methodd gwelliant 113.
Amendment 113 fell.
Carwyn Jones, amendment 92.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 92 (Carwyn Jones).
Amendment 92 (Carwyn Jones) moved.
Yn ffurfiol, Dirprwy Lywydd.
Formally, Deputy Presiding Officer.
Thank you. The question is that amendment 92 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Therefore, we have an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 41, five abstentions, 10 against. Therefore, amendment 92 is agreed.
I now call on Carwyn Jones to move amendment 94.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 94 (Carwyn Jones).
Amendment 94 (Carwyn Jones) moved.
Yn ffurfiol, Dirprwy Lywydd.
Formally, Deputy Presiding Officer.
Thank you. As there are amendments to amendment 94, those amendments will be disposed of first. I propose that amendments 94A to 94K, which appear consecutively on the marshalled list, are disposed of en bloc. Does any Member object to the votes being grouped? No. Therefore, the amendments are being grouped. Alun Davies to move amendments 94A to 94K.
Presiding Officer, we've tested the mood of the Chamber on these matters. It isn't my intention to test the mood again. I'm happy not to move these amendments if the mover of the main amendment, 94, Carwyn Jones, is willing to give us an undertaking that he will consider the votes taken during this session and bring back subsequent amendments at Stage 3.
Well, I'm happy to give an undertaking that I will consider what is already a quite complex situation to make sure that we have coherent legislation, and I think that that's important for all of us. I can offer that undertaking that I'll discuss the issue with him.
On that basis, I do not intend to move those amendments.
Ni chynigiwyd gwelliannau 94A, 94B, 94C, 94D, 94E, 94F, 94G, 94H, 94I, 94J a 94K (Alun Davies).
Amendments 94A, 94B, 94C, 94D, 94E, 94F, 94G, 94H, 94I, 94J and 94K (Alun Davies) not moved.
Can I ask the Member in charge of amendment 94, Carwyn Jones, whether he intends to move 94 to a vote?
I'm not sure that I was asked not to move it to a vote, but to give an undertaking as a result, subsequent to the vote being moved, so therefore I move.
You move 94. Thank you. So, we now proceed to a vote on amendment 94. Does any Member object? Nobody object to 94? [Objection.] You do. Okay. Right. So, we now proceed to an electronic vote on amendment 94. All those in favour—. Sorry. Sorry, we haven't opened the vote. Open the vote. Confusing me already.
Before the vote, can I ask for the bell to be rung?
You want the bell to be rung.
Do we have three Members who will show for the bell to be rung? Okay, ring the bell. Can somebody ring the bell please?
Canwyd y gloch i alw’r Aelodau i’r Siambr.
The bell was rung to call Members to the Chamber.
I intend now to move on, so if Members can come to order.
We have passed five minutes since the bell was rung, and so I now am going to resume. Carwyn Jones.
I think it's probably best to raise this as a point of order, Dirprwy Lywydd, under the appropriate Standing Order. There have been discussions—. I was very keen—which is why I asked for the bell to be rung—to make sure that we had consistency and that we had a direction, in what is a very complicated Bill. Having discussed the issue with a number of Members of other parties, it’s clear that with amendment 94, all the Schedule would remain as it is, but there are inconsistencies in that Schedule, in the Schedule proposed under amendment 94, that would need to be rectified, because they make reference to 'Members of Senedd Cymru'. So, in moving amendment 94, and seeking support for 94, can I give an undertaking—and also I’ve spoken to the Government, who also understand the issue and are open to doing this—that in the next Stage, any inconsistencies created by the rejection of amendment 87, which of course the Assembly was perfectly entitled to do, will be corrected at that Stage, so that we don’t have different terminologies in different parts of the Schedule compared to the Bill, which is where we are at the moment?
Okay. So, you have moved amendment 94.
So, if amendment 94 is agreed to—[Interruption.] You all need to listen to this. You all need to listen to this, because you're going to get terribly confused later on. If amendment 94 is agreed to, amendments 170 to 183, amendments 5 and 6, amendments 184 to 208, amendment 267, amendments 209 to 220, 268, amendments 221 to 242, amendment 7, amendments 243 to 253, and amendment 8, will all fall. The question is that amendment 94 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Objection. Right. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the amendment 30, four abstentions, 21 against, therefore that amendment is agreed and all the other amendments that I earlier called out have fallen.
Methodd gwelliannau 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 5, 6, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 267, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 268, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 7, 243, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253 ac 8.
Amendments 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 5, 6, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 267, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 268, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 7, 243, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253 and 8 fell.
We now move to group 2. Group 2, the next group of amendments, relates to the extension of the right to vote to persons aged 16 and 17 and associated electoral registration. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 114, and I call on Caroline Jones to move and speak to the lead amendments and the other amendments in this group. Caroline.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 114 (Caroline Jones).
Amendment 114 (Caroline Jones) moved.
Diolch, Dirprwy Llywydd. I move the amendments tabled in my name. The purpose of the amendments in this group is to seek to remove Part 3 of the Bill. We can see the need to change the name of this institution to reflect the fact that we are a law-making Parliament, and the changes to the disqualification criteria are long overdue. The law created a bizarre situation whereby if you worked for certain organisations, you had to resign from your job in order to get on the ballot paper. It was like having to quit your job in order to qualify for an interview for another—totally unjust.
What I can't see, however, is the need to lower the voting age. I firmly believe that the voting age has to remain at 18, the age at which we legally become an adult. Both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Children Act 1989 define a child as someone under the age of 18. We have a bizarre situation when both this institution and the UK Parliament have been restricting 16-year-olds, preventing them from smoking, visiting a tanning salon or getting intimate piercings, yet want to give them the right to vote. The argument many politicians have put forward for lowering the voting age is that 16-year-olds can get married and join the armed forces, so they should be able to vote. But what they fail to add is the need for parental consent. Yes, you can get married or enter a civil partnership at 16, but you have to get permission from mam and dad or your guardian. You can join the army at 16, but once again you need permission from a parent or guardian.
Will you take an intervention, Caroline?
I'm grateful to you for doing that. Of course, the other argument is that, at 16, you can be employed and you can pay tax, and you don't require parental consent to do that. I happen to be a democrat and I believe in the principle of no taxation without representation.
Thank you for that, Helen Mary, but what I'm trying to say is that there's definite confusion here between being a child and an adult and what you can and cannot do, and I think that this is not in the interests of a child under the age of 18, as stated.
So, I've yet to hear a compelling argument for lowering the voting age. Unless those advocating votes at 16 are also going to reduce the age of majority, the voting age should remain at 18. We should be concentrating on encouraging the 55 per cent of the adult population who didn't vote at the last Assembly election to participate, rather than extending the franchise. According to experts from Queen Mary University of London, overall turnout would drop, because turnout for 16 and 17-year-olds tends to be lower than other groups, as evidenced from other countries with a lower minimum voting age. And it is for these reasons we have sought to remove Part 3 from this Bill, and I urge Members to support my amendments.
I move four amendments, and they can be separated into two parts. Firstly, amendments 270 and 273 would insert on the face of the Bill a duty for the Welsh Government to issue statutory guidance to all secondary schools, including colleges, on how to educate and inform on the changes to the voting age. I do think the education aspect of extending the franchise is quite critical. It was very extensively discussed in the Stage 1 committee, and it was reflecting on that that I thought it was necessary to bring these amendments forward.
It would ensure that all providers of secondary education in Wales must promote the awareness of elections to the Senedd, as well as the concept of citizenship. The duty ensures that Welsh Ministers must issue guidance to the providers of secondary education in order to ensure compliance with these provisions. While there are various arguments for and against the lowering of the voting age to 16—and we are divided in our group on this issue, and people will make up their minds—there is one common concern, and that's the evidence that we saw, which highlighted the need for education and awareness to accompany any change that is made to the franchise.
The current level of education support was deemed inadequate by witnesses to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. For example, the Electoral Reform Society Cymru stated that political education is 'relatively poor', and that
'we're relatively disengaged in devolved politics, in particular.'
While noting some excellent practice in schools, even the Minister for Education admitted that there was a variability of provision for citizenship education, and acknowledged the need for consistency in the messages that children receive in relation to political education through the new curriculum. So, I do think we should take this opportunity to issue guidance.
Welsh students are crying out for more political engagement. That was also part of the evidence that the committee received, and a poll in 2017, for instance, showed that only 28 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds knew that the NHS was devolved. That's probably the most important—well, it is the most important public service we're responsible for, and of this age group, under a third realise at the moment that it is devolved.
Without the correct educational support behind these proposed changes, we could be heading towards some of the same problems that face Scotland, where 25 out of 32 authorities had developed guidance on how headteachers and other staff should approach the referendum, but the other authorities didn't. The Electoral Commission, hinting at this situation, stated that from their perspective,
'the key thing will be effective public awareness ahead of any election that would explain to people who can and who can't take part in that election, and that doesn't just fall within any mass media work or campaign; it will also fall within political literacy and schools' formal education work as well'.
And I do agree with that.
Deputy Llywydd, it will not be healthy for our democracy to have such a variation in approach as they in the end had in Scotland, depending largely on the local authority's attitude to the approach to political and citizenship education. This is a difficult and intricate area of public policy. It's one that actually needs a lot of improvement, because I'm sure we've all experienced some schools that are just too timid to invite any engagement with political parties, because they believe we all need to be there at the same time whereas, obviously, they've just got to act in a non-partisan way and ensure that they have a fair programme throughout their school year, rather than have a perfect balance on every occasion. These amendments would ensure that we had a harmonised approach to public education in relation to the franchise.
My other amendments in this group, amendments 274 and 276, insert a sunrise clause into the Bill, delaying the commencement of votes at 16 until after the relevant provisions relating to the extension of the franchise in the local government and elections Bill are commenced. This will avoid the scenario where 16 and 17-year-olds are able to vote in Senedd elections, but not local government elections. As I said at Stage 1, in the Welsh Conservatives, we'll be having a free vote on the issue of votes at 16, but we are firm in our belief that should the extension of the franchise to 16-year-olds remain in this legislation, it should not be commenced until the approach is consistent for both Assembly elections and local government elections.
When we looked at this issue in the Stage 1 committee, even the Llywydd acknowledged that there is merit to having the whole franchise change in one piece of legislation. And while I respect the fact that the Welsh Government fully intends to bring forward the local government Bill before the local government elections in 2020—indeed, the Bill is promised imminently—we're aware of the convoluted history of this Bill, along with its prolonged and controversial gestation. The Llywydd spoke about her original intentions for this Bill and how it was originally intended to be implemented after the local government Bill, before the timetabling was flipped. So, our approach would ensure that the franchise is extended to 16 and 17-year-olds for both Senedd and local government elections at the same time. This would eliminate any prospect of confusion, and this is very important, I think, also for the efficient organisation of electoral arrangements.
Listening to the evidence in the Stage 1 committee proceedings, it was very clear that many of the expert witnesses believed that the extension of the franchise for both elections should be in a single Bill itself, and that one on electoral reform. This view also applied to the latter sections of this Bill regarding the oversight of the Electoral Commission. So, I hope that we're operating in the most efficient and effective way here as opposed to rushing through these hugely significant changes. And I hope that Members will be sympathetic to the constructive amendments that I'm seeking to move here.
The Electoral Reform Society and Professor Roger Scully both spoke about how the extension of the franchise for both elections at the same time would be the ideal situation. The Welsh Local Government Association said it was,
'not immediately clear...why the franchise element of the local government and elections Bill is separate to this.'
And, additionally, the Association of Electoral Administrators highlighted that—and I again quote—
'divergences between the local government and Assembly franchises would create the potential for confusion, both amongst the electorate and those responsible for administering elections, which in turn could impact on voter engagement.'
And, so, on that basis, I move our four amendments and urge—as well as the first two—the need to have this consistency.
I'm just rising to speak about changing the voting age as opposed to discussing the curriculum, which my colleague Siân Gwenllian will do. As somebody who grew up and was campaigning against many issues such as opencast mining in the Valleys area where I lived as a young child, I don't feel that it's something that we should be afraid of. We debated this during the climate change debate recently, where I said that we should respect and value young people's views, and by respecting and valuing their views, we can extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds.
But it's not just about that. It's about trying to engage with a new cohort of people who may have radical or creative ideas that may influence or be able to collaborate with us much more as Assembly Members. We all want that, and we all want those new ideas to come forward. We've seen it with the climate activists, but we've also seen it with the independence for Wales movement. Some of you may not want younger people to vote for that very reason, but we certainly want to engage with those younger people and I certainly do not want them to feel that they're disenfranchised from this political movement. We're here debating very important things today, but we want to say to young people, 'Well, what are the issues that you care about?', 'What can you change in relation to your communities?' Of course this needs to come with a public information campaign. Of course it doesn't sit on its own. There's no point having the vote if they're not going to use it, but there's ways and means of being able to do that in a constructive and positive way.
So, I would urge all Members here to think about what that means for those 16 and 17-year-olds. In fact, they may make more rational decisions than some of our world leaders right now, I would beg to question. We've seen some very toxic, very depressing debate of late, and I've spoken to young people about this and they feel frustrated by it. They feel that they want to be part of the discourse, and by giving them the vote at that earlier stage: what is the harm? We can get them involved earlier, surely, so that they vote more often in later life. I think Adam Price told me quite a few years ago, research shows that if you do engage at a younger age, they are more likely to vote throughout their lives, be it on any issue that affects them. And let's not be fooled: younger people will become adults one day and they will want to engage in various different issues. I was too young to vote in the referendum vote that established this very place, and I remember campaigning but feeling disenfranchised from not being able to vote. Well, let's not make the mistake of not allowing younger people to vote, and go down in history as a progressive and enlightened Parliament.
I welcome the opportunity to speak in this part of the debate. It's no surprise to many that I don't advocate votes at 16. It's a consistent position that I've taken, although I'm happy to be persuaded, I have to say—[Interruption.]—by the merits of the argument. And I heard Bethan say that she tried to, but I have to draw on my own experience when I've gone around schools in the South Wales Central area, and one of the key arguments that's put by the students themselves—and it's highlighted in Laura McAllister's piece of work in particular—is the lack of education and information that's provided in the curriculum. I think that's a glaring anomaly in our system that we're now at Stage 2 and I haven't heard any real arguments that have convinced me that there's a coherent plan in place to have that education and have that information in the curriculum. Indeed, the legislative committee of the Assembly, when Mick Antoniw was speaking in Stage 1, said that:
'we are concerned at the apparent lack of a coherent action plan to deliver votes at 16 in readiness for the 2021 Assembly elections.'
Now, the 2021 Assembly elections are a little over 18 months away, and yet there isn't a coherent plan in place. I've yet to hear of it, and we're prepared to vote for votes at 16.
And equally, when we look at other pieces of legislation where we think we are protecting young people, as we've heard from Caroline Jones already this afternoon, such as piercings, such as sunbeds, such as cigarette smoking, we've moved the age from 16, in many of those cases, up to 18, we have, then. I'm a father of four children and I believe passionately that the more you engage with young people, the more vibrant a society we have. But we have to set an age where we think it is applicable to have the franchise. And as I said, from my own personal experience and the experience I've had since I became an elected Member in 2007, time and time again, the students themselves are the ones who are telling me that they do not feel at the age of 16 and 17 that they are in a position to take up that very powerful position of voting in a democratic election, and 18 is the age that most people think is a sensible age.
I appreciate I will lose the vote tonight because there has been a majority here, a constant majority, for votes at 16; I accept that. But I would ask the Chamber to think seriously about the amendment in David Melding's name—amendment 270—which does build on the work of the McAllister review into this, that does talk about the need for an education provision within the curriculum. I can see the education Minister chuntering away. If she'd like to intervene and inform me that there is a coherent plan, I'd be most grateful because the committee report indicates that the education Secretary couldn't provide that coherent plan when she came in and presented evidence.
So, I do think that it is incumbent on Members here, if they are going to vote for votes at 16, to make sure that there is that ability within the curriculum to inform our citizens, our citizens of tomorrow, of the role that they will play in that democratic exercise, and I would suggest, the most powerful exercise that you can undertake, which is to put a cross on a bit of paper and actually put elected representatives into institutions like this to make that decision.
I do think it is important, as well, as David Melding has highlighted, that if the franchise is to change, that it is done together at a local government level as well as an Assembly level. As I said, I disagree with the principle, but I accept there's a majority here, and for many, it will be very disorientating and confusing to find one part of the franchise moving and the other parts of the franchise either staying still or catching up with it at a later date. And I do think that argument that David prosecuted is a very powerful argument, should the Assembly this afternoon vote to lower the voting age to 16. For that reason, that's why I'm supporting amendment 270 on education and will be supporting other amendments in this category, but not the principal amendment, which is to lower the vote to 16, which we, as a group, have a free vote on.
I ategu geiriau Bethan Sayed, dwi hefyd yn cytuno’n llwyr efo ymestyn yr etholfraint i bobl ifanc 16 ac 17 oed. Dwi hefyd yn fam i bedwar o bobl ifanc erbyn hyn. Maen nhw wedi hen basio oed 16, 17, ond pan oedden nhw’n ifancach, doedden nhw'n methu â chredu eu bod nhw ddim yn cael pleidleisio yn ystod yr oedran yna, ac roedden nhw’n credu eu bod nhw a’u cyfoedion yn hollol aeddfed, yn hollol alluog ac yn hollol gyfrifol. Byddan nhw wrth eu bodd, gobeithio, yn gweld y budd o ymestyn yr etholfraint yma yn digwydd drwy’r Senedd yma.
Dwi’n mynd i siarad am yr agwedd o osod dyletswydd statudol ar Weinidogion Cymru i ddyroddi canllawiau statudol i ysgolion uwchradd. Dwi’n cytuno’n llwyr efo David Melding ynglŷn â’r pwysigrwydd o sicrhau addysg wleidyddol ac addysg ynghylch dinasyddiaeth i bobl ifanc yn gyffredinol, ond yn enwedig gyda’r newid yn yr etholfraint. Ond serch hynny, dwi’n pryderu y gallai’r gwelliant yma, sydd yn ceisio rhoi’r gofyniad i ddarparu addysg o’r fath ar wyneb y Ddeddf, y gallai hynny arwain at ddyblygu gwaith a chreu dryswch o geisio’i wneud o ochr yn ochr â chyflwyno’r cwricwlwm newydd a’r newidiadau sydd yn hwnnw a’r pwyslais ar ddinasyddiaeth.
Yn ogystal, mi fyddai’r gwelliant yma, o’i weithredu, yn rhoi gofyniad uniongyrchol ar yr holl ddarparwyr addysg uwchradd—hynny yw, ysgolion unigol—yn ogystal â Gweinidogion Cymru i symud ymlaen efo addysg wleidyddol. Dydyn ni ddim yn credu bod hynny'n ddull priodol o symud, ac mae o'n ymddangos yn anghyson efo beth sydd yn digwydd o ran y cwricwlwm.
Ond mi fyddwn ni yn chwilio am addewid gan y Llywodraeth a'r Gweinidog Addysg y bydd addysg ynglŷn â dinasyddiaeth yn gweld trawsnewidiad ac y bydd yna gynllun gweithredu a chyllid pendant i gefnogi cyflwyno addysg bwrpasol o'r fath i'n holl ddinasyddion. Ac os na fydd y newidiadau yna'n digwydd drwy'r cwricwlwm newydd, yna bryd hynny, yn sicr, bydd rhaid ystyried a oes angen deddfu'n benodol er mwyn sicrhau addysg wleidyddol.
To echo the words of Bethan Sayed, I also agree entirely with extending the franchise to young people of 16 and 17 years of age. I’m also the mother of four young people now. They’ve long since passed the ages of 16 and 17, but when they were younger they couldn’t believe that they weren’t allowed to vote at that age. They believed that they and their peers were totally mature and very responsible. They will be thrilled, I hope, to see the benefit of extending the franchise through this Senedd.
I am going to speak to the aspect of placing a statutory responsibility on Welsh Ministers to provide statutory guidance to secondary schools. I agree entirely with David Melding on the importance of ensuring political education and citizenship education for young people more generally, but particularly with the change of franchise. Despite that, I am concerned that this amendment, which seeks to put the requirement to provide such education on the face of the Bill, could lead to duplication and cause confusion in trying to do that along with the introduction of the new curriculum and the changes contained therein and the emphasis on citizenship.
And in addition, this amendment, were it to be implemented, would place a direct requirement on all secondary education providers—that's individual schools—as well as Welsh Ministers to move ahead with political education. We don’t believe that that is an appropriate method of moving forward. It appears inconsistent with what is happening more generally in terms of the curriculum.
But we will be seeking a pledge from Government and the education Minister that education on citizenship will be transformed and that there will be an action plan and specific funding to support the introduction of meaningful education for all our citizens. And if those changes don’t happen through the new curriculum, then at that point, certainly, we will have to consider whether we need to legislate specifically to secure political education.
Thank you. Can I now call the Counsel General?
Dirprwy Lywydd, amendment 37, which the Government has brought forward to Part 3 of this Bill is part of a suite of Government amendments designed to extend the franchise—forgive me—yes, to extend the franchise for Senedd elections. This particular amendment will ensure that any citizen who is aged 16 and over and who meets all other qualifying criteria for voting may vote in Senedd elections. Dirprwy Lywydd, I commend the amendments to the Assembly.
I support the Llywydd’s amendments 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, which make amendments to the Welsh text of the Bill. Amendments 101, 114, 116 to 123, 125 to 130, 135, 137 and 165 from Caroline Jones all seek to remove from the Bill the provisions that enfranchise 16 and 17-year-olds and the administrative provisions necessary to give effect to that enfranchisement. These should be rejected as they remove one of the aims of the Bill, which the Welsh Government shared with the Commission.
Amendments 270 and 273 seek to place a duty on secondary schools to promote awareness of the franchise and of citizenship and to place a duty on Welsh Ministers to issue guidance in relation to this. I share the intent behind the amendment that we provide young people with the information they require to make an informed decision. However, curriculum for Wales 2022 seeks to allow for a broadening of learning, supporting settings, and schools to be more flexible in their approaches, and provides education leaders and practitioners with greater agency, enabling them to be innovative and to be creative. The new curriculum, through the—
Will the Counsel General give way? The real problem we have at the minute is a cultural barrier to dealing with anything political in secondary schools and in colleges, and that can only be sorted out at this stage, I would say, by guidance. Whilst I hope that the new curriculum will broaden things and allow the scope, so that it'll have that as the foundation, it won't do anything to shift that culture at the moment, which means that teachers just don't go anywhere near political stuff if they think it is controversial, and we need to challenge that.
Well, David Melding makes an important point, but I would say to him that we understand very well that the feedback we've received, for example, from the Youth Parliament suggests politically impartial teaching packages are needed as part of a mix of interactive activities and videos to help support young people to understand the broader responsibilities of citizenship and of democratic engagement, and we are very fixed on that.
The new curriculum, through the humanities area of learning and experience, aims to give learners an understanding of the broader historical, political, economic and societal issues that are required to become informed and to develop perspectives in this important area. And I think it's important to note as well that the objective is that the new curriculum will help to develop a generation of politically engaged and informed young people, which I know are David Melding's concerns.
We are already working with partners across the sector, engaging with schools, and local government, amongst others. Phase 1 resources will be in place by September 2020 and will be aimed at those young people eligible to vote in 2021 and 2022. And discussions are already under way to ensure that phase 2 resources complement the new curriculum. There'll be communications and awareness-raising campaigns developed alongside that to ensure consistency of messaging.
In that broader context, we will not be supporting amendments that make the provision of education on the franchise and the concept of citizenship a statutory requirement. That goes against the ethos of the new curriculum, and therefore we will reject amendments 270 and 273. [Interruption.] Yes.
I'm grateful for your outlining what resources will go into place, but, obviously, if this vote passes, which, as I said, it will, because there's a majority view here, this would be for the election of 2021. All the resources and exercising of the new curriculum are for 2022, so, surely, a better change in the date would be for the election of 2026, when the system will be educating our young people, because I think the earliest you said the resource is going to be made available is in September 2020, a mere six months before the Assembly election of 2021.
Well, as I say, resources are going to be ready by then. We will ensure the work is delivered in time for the Assembly elections in 2021, and the intention is to ensure that there'll be additional, politically neutral materials and teacher support available to schools by the summer of 2022, to prepare 16 and 17-year-olds for voting for the first time.
Amendments 274 and 276, which some speakers have referred to specifically, work together so that provisions lowering the voting age to 16 come into force only when the Senedd enacts legislation lowering the voting age to 16 for local government elections as well. This would mean, in practice, that registration could not be undertaken in advance of the franchise change, with the result that 16 and 17-year-olds would miss out on the opportunity of voting in the 2021 Assembly elections. I believe we should reject amendments 274 and 276 for that reason.
Speakers have referred to the relationship between this Bill and the local government and elections (Wales) Bill. The timing of the next Assembly elections in 2021 means that the changes in this Bill have to be taken forward in good time for that election, giving the electoral community time to prepare, and the local government and elections (Wales) Bill will not be introduced until later this year, and that would, obviously, be too late to make the necessary changes.
Thank you. Can I now call the Llywydd?
Rwy'n ddiolchgar am y cyfle i fynd i'r afael â'r gwelliannau sy'n ymwneud â gostwng yr oedran pleidleisio. Cyn gwneud hynny, mae'n werth, efallai, atgoffa ein hunain pam fod y cynigion deddfwriaethol hyn i ostwng yr oedran pleidleisio ger eich bron yn y Bil heddiw. Mae hyn wedi bod ar y gweill ers tro. Yn y pedwerydd Cynulliad, ym mis Mai 2013, pleidleisiodd mwyafrif clir o'r Aelodau o blaid gostwng yr oedran pleidleisio. Ym mis Tachwedd 2014, lansiodd y Llywydd ar y pryd hynny, Rosemary Butler, ymgynghoriad ynghylch a ddylai fod gan bobl ifanc 16 ac 17 oed yr hawl i bleidleisio. Cymerodd dros 10,000 o bobl ifanc o bob rhan o Gymru ran yn yr ymgynghoriad, gyda'r mwyafrif yn cytuno y dylai’r oedran pleidleisio gael ei ostwng.
Felly, pan drosglwyddwyd y pŵer dros ein hetholiadau datganoledig i Gymru yn 2017, cytunodd y Comisiwn i archwilio'r newid yn yr etholfraint, gyda'r nod bod mwy o bobl ifanc yn cymryd rhan yn ein democratiaeth ni yma. Roedd canlyniadau ymgynghoriad Comisiwn y Cynulliad ar greu Senedd i Gymru yn dangos bod y mwyafrif—59 y cant—o'r ymatebwyr yn cytuno y dylid gostwng yr oedran pleidleisio i 16 oed. Roedd y mwyafrif hwnnw yn cynyddu i 81 y cant ymhlith yr ymatebwyr a ddywedodd eu bod nhw o dan 18 oed. Ac, wrth gwrs, ym mis Hydref y llynedd, cytunodd y Cynulliad yma i ganiatáu i Gomisiwn y Cynulliad gyflwyno Bil a fyddai’n ymestyn yr etholfraint ar gyfer etholiadau’r Cynulliad.
Rydw i o’r farn y bydd gostwng yr oedran pleidleisio i 16 oed yn rhoi'r hawl i bobl ifanc 16 ac 17 oed bleidleisio yn etholiadau cyffredinol Cymru, gan roi llais iddyn nhw mewn penderfyniadau a fydd yn diffinio eu dyfodol nhw. Bydd yn helpu i feithrin dinasyddiaeth dda mewn pobl ifanc ac yn rhoi hwb i wella addysg dinasyddiaeth. Mae'n adeiladu ar y gwaith rydyn ni wedi ei wneud i sefydlu’r Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru gyntaf erioed yn y lle yma. Mae’r dystiolaeth sydd ar gael yn hwb i’n gobeithion y gall annog rhagor i bleidleisio dros y tymor hir. Mater o arfer yw pleidleisio i nifer, a gall cael profiad cynharach ohono arwain unigolion i gadw at yr arfer hwnnw.
Am yr holl resymau yma, rwy’n annog yr Aelodau i wrthwynebu gwelliannau 101, 114, 116 i 123 a 125 i 129, a 165—y cyfan ohonyn nhw wedi eu cyflwyno gan Caroline Jones. Fe fyddai'r gwelliannau hynny yn atal ymestyn yr etholfraint er mwyn i bobl ifanc 16 ac 17 oed allu pleidleisio yn etholiadau’r Senedd.
Rwy'n troi nawr at welliannau David Melding, gan ddechrau gyda gwelliannau 270 a 273, y rheini'n ymwneud â'r ddyletswydd i ddarparu addysg dinasyddiaeth. Fel yr wyf wedi ei amlinellu'n flaenorol, er mwyn sicrhau bod pobl ifanc yn cael eu hannog a'u cefnogi i ddefnyddio eu hawl newydd i bleidleisio, byddai'n rhaid i benderfyniad i ostwng yr oedran pleidleisio i 16 oed ddod law yn llaw ag addysg briodol mewn perthynas â gwleidyddiaeth a dinasyddiaeth, a byddai’n rhaid codi ymwybyddiaeth y cyhoedd i'r hawliau newydd yma. Dywedodd y Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol ei fod, yn yr un modd,
'yn argyhoeddedig o’r angen am addysg ddigonol a gwaith i godi ymwybyddiaeth er mwyn gweithredu’r Bil yn briodol.'
Nid yw'r Bil yn cynnwys dyletswyddau penodol ar Lywodraeth Cymru na darparwyr addysg i hyrwyddo ymwybyddiaeth o'r etholfraint ar gyfer etholiadau'r Cynulliad. Mae hyn yn adlewyrchu'r ffaith bod Gweinidogion Llywodraeth Cymru wedi datgan yn gyhoeddus eu hymrwymiad i ddarparu addysg ac ymwybyddiaeth o'r fath, a phryderon y gallai dyletswyddau statudol gyfyngu ar Lywodraeth Cymru yn anfwriadol wrth fwrw ymlaen â'r mater yma.
Serch hynny, mater i'r Cynulliad yw penderfynu a yw dyletswyddau penodol, fel y darperir ar eu cyfer gan welliannau 270 a 273, yn briodol. Rwy'n parhau'n hyderus y bydd y mesurau yr ydyn ni—y Comisiwn, mewn partneriaeth â Llywodraeth Cymru ag eraill—yn eu rhoi ar waith yn codi ymwybyddiaeth ac yn darparu'r addysg angenrheidiol i alluogi'r Bil i gael ei weithredu’n effeithiol, a bod y mesurau hynny yn mynd i ddwyn ffrwyth yn effeithiol. Rŷn ni wedi clywed y rheini'n cael eu hamlinellu gan y Cwnsler Cyffredinol y prynhawn yma, a dwi'n hyderus bod y gwaith yna yn mynd yn ei flaen mewn ffordd effeithiol a fydd yn cwrdd â'r angen i godi ymwybyddiaeth ar gyfer 2021.
Cyfeiriaf, felly, at welliannau David Melding sy'n ymwneud â'r dyddiad y dylai'r newidiadau i'r etholfraint ddod i rym. Gwelliannau 274 a 276 yw'r rheini. Dwi'n deall bod rhai Aelodau am weld yr un etholfraint gyffredin ar gyfer Cymru ac osgoi unrhyw risg o wahaniaeth yn yr etholfraint ar gyfer etholiadau lleol ac etholiadau'r Cynulliad. Mae David Melding wedi mynegi ei bryder am ostwng yr oedran pleidleisio ar gyfer etholiadau'r Cynulliad cyn i'r newid cyfatebol ddigwydd ar gyfer etholiadau llywodraeth leol. Fel rŷn ni wedi clywed, mae Llywodraeth Cymru, wrth gwrs, yn bwriadu mynd i’r afael â hynny yn y dyfodol agos drwy’r Bil llywodraeth leol.
Mae gen i rywfaint o gydymdeimlad, wrth gwrs, â gwelliannau David Melding, sy'n darparu mai dim ond pan fydd y Senedd yn deddfu i ostwng yr oedran pleidleisio ar gyfer etholiadau llywodraeth leol yng Nghymru i 16 y dylai'r etholfraint i bobl ifanc 16 ac 17 ddod i rym ar gyfer etholiadau'r Cynulliad. Ond bwriad polisi Comisiwn y Cynulliad yw gostwng yr oedran pleidleisio i 16 oed ar gyfer etholiadau'r Cynulliad yn 2021. Ni fyddai gohirio'r etholfraint i bobl ifanc 16 ac 17 oed yn rhoi digon o amser i'r gymuned etholiadol baratoi ar gyfer y newidiadau i'r etholfraint erbyn etholiadau'r Cynulliad yn 2021, sy'n dechrau, wrth gwrs, gyda'r ganfas flynyddol ym mis Gorffennaf 2020.
Pe baem yn aros i'r newidiadau i etholfraint llywodraeth leol ddod i rym, sef cynnwys y gwelliannau oddi wrth David Melding, yna mae e'n fwyaf tebygol mai profiad cyntaf pobl ifanc 16 ac 17 oed o bleidleisio mewn etholiad fyddai etholiadau llywodraeth leol 2022. Yn y cyd-destun hynny, dwi angen atgoffa Aelodau fod panel arbenigol Laura McAllister wedi dweud bod cyflwyno newid yn yr etholiadau mwyaf amlwg yn gyntaf yn fwy tebygol o fod y ffordd fwyaf effeithiol o ddechrau'r polisi o ostwng yr oedran pleidleisio. Felly, dwi'n annog yr Aelodau i wrthod gwelliannau 274 a 276, yn enw David Melding, er mwyn cadarnhau taw etholiad cyffredinol Cymru 2021 fydd y cyntaf i gyflwyno'r bleidlais i bobl ifanc 16 ac 17 oed.
Yn olaf, dwi'n annog yr Aelodau i gefnogi gwelliannau 11 ac 15 i 20, a gyflwynwyd yn fy enw i. Mân welliannau drafftio yw'r rhain i wneud y fersiwn Gymraeg o'r Bil yn gliriach, ac nid ydynt yn newid testun Saesneg y Bil o gwbl. Diolch.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to address the amendments related to the lowering of the voting age. Before I do that, it’s worth reminding ourselves why these legislative proposals to lower the voting age are before you in this Bill. This has been a long time coming. In the fourth Assembly, in May 2013, a clear majority of Members voted in favour of reducing the voting age. In November 2014, the then Llywydd, Rosemary Butler, launched a consultation on whether 16 and 17-year-olds should be entitled to vote. Over 10,000 young people from across Wales took part in that consultation, with a majority agreeing that the voting age should be lowered.
Therefore, when powers over our devolved elections were transferred to Wales in 2017, the Commission agreed to explore the change in franchise, with the aim of ensuring that more young people would engage with our democracy. The results of the consultation undertaken by the Assembly Commission on creating a Senedd for Wales showed that a majority—59 per cent—of respondents agreed that the voting age should be lowered to 16. That majority increased to 81 per cent among the respondents who said that they were below 18 years of age. And, of course, in October of last year, the Assembly agreed to allow the Assembly Commission to introduce a Bill that would extend the franchise for Assembly elections.
I believe that lowering the voting age to 16 will empower 16 and 17-year-olds to vote at Welsh general elections, giving them a voice on decisions that will define their future. It will help to nurture good citizenship in young people and give an impetus to improve citizenship education. It builds on the work that we have done to establish the first Welsh Youth Parliament in this place. The evidence available supports our hope that more will vote in the longer term. Voting is a habit for many and an earlier experience of it may lead individuals to maintaining that habit.
For all these reasons, I urge Members to oppose amendments 101, 114, 116 to 123, and 125 to 129, and 165—all of them tabled in the name of Caroline Jones. Those amendments would prevent extending the franchise so that 16 and 17-year-olds would be able to vote in Senedd elections.
I now turn to David Melding’s amendments, starting with amendments 270 and 273 relating to the duty to provide citizenship education. As I’ve previously outlined, in order to ensure that young people are encouraged and supported to exercise their new right to vote, any decision to reduce the voting age to 16 would have to come hand in hand with appropriate education in relation to citizenship and politics, and public awareness of those rights would need to be increased. The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee stated that they were, likewise,
'convinced of the need for adequate awareness-raising and education for the proper implementation of the Bill.'
The Bill does not include specific duties on either the Welsh Government or providers of education to promote the awareness of the franchise for Assembly elections. This reflects the fact that Welsh Ministers had publicly stated their commitment to providing such education and awareness, and concerns that statutory duties could inadvertently restrict the Welsh Government in taking these matters forward.
However, it’s a matter for the Assembly to determine whether specific duties, as provided for by amendments 270 and 273, are appropriate. I remain confident that the measures that we—the Commission, in partnership with the Welsh Government and others—are putting in place are raising awareness and providing the necessary education to allow the Bill to be implemented effectively, and that those measures will bear fruit and will be effective. We have heard those outlined by the Counsel General this afternoon. I am confident that that work is ongoing in an effective manner, which will meet the need to raise awareness for 2021.
I refer now to David Melding’s amendments related to the date on which changes to the franchise should come into force. Those are amendments 274 and 276. I understand that some Members wish to see a common franchise for Wales to avoid any risk of a difference in the franchise for local elections and Assembly elections. David Melding has expressed his concern about reducing the voting age for Assembly elections prior to the corresponding change for local government elections. As we've heard, the Welsh Government intends to address that in the near future through the local government Bill.
I have some sympathy with David Melding’s amendments, which provide for the enfranchisement of 16 and 17-year-olds to only come into force when the Senedd enacts legislation to lower the voting age for local government elections in Wales to 16. But the intention of the Assembly Commission policy is to lower the voting age to 16 for the 2021 Assembly elections. Delaying the extension of the franchise for 16 and 17-year-olds would not give the electoral community the time it needs to prepare for the changes to the franchise in time for the 2021 Assembly elections, beginning, of course, with the annual canvass in July 2020.
If we were to wait for the local government franchise changes to take effect, namely the content of David Melding’s amendments, then it’s most likely that the first experience of 16 and 17-year-olds of voting in an election would be in local government elections in 2022. In that context, I would like to remind Members that the expert panel, chaired by Laura McAllister, stated that introducing the change in the higher salience election first is more likely to be an effective way of starting the policy of lowering the voting age. I therefore encourage Members to reject amendments 274 and 276, in the name of David Melding, to ensure that the Welsh general election of 2021 will be the first to enfranchise 16 and 17-year-olds.
Finally, I urge Members to support amendments 11 and 15 to 20, tabled in my name. These are minor drafting amendments to provide clarity in the Welsh version of the Bill, and they do not change the English text of the Bill at all. Thank you.
Thank you. I call on Caroline Jones to reply to the debate.
Diolch, Dirprwy Lywydd. First of all, I'd like to thank everyone that took time to respond to what I was proposing. So, thank you all for that. I've taken on board everybody's contributions, and I'd like to thank you all for that. Although you had different opinions to me, it doesn't really matter because we are here to debate and we are here to reflect the opinions of the people that we represent, and the opinions of the people we represent are varied. But I look back on what has been said and you've stated, nearly every Member stated, that there was a need to educate and inform young people. My opinion is that, yes, of course if people are interested in politics, they need to make an informed choice of who they vote for, but I also look at the pressures on 16 and 17-year-olds today with examinations, and I look at an already overstretched curriculum, and I say that the pressures on 16 and 17-year-olds is vast. I wonder what sort of choices they are thinking of if they want to vote? Andrew R.T. Davies has stated that he has been around the school and spoken to 16 and 17-year-olds and there was no appetite to vote; they felt it was too young. But I've heard—[Interruption.] Well, it is Andrew. Of course it is Andrew. That's what I'm talking about.
We've heard about giving people the opportunity to engage in their community, and of course we all want people to engage within their community, and have an opinion on what goes on in their community. But I can't see that giving them a vote at 16 and 17 years of age is going to make an awful lot of difference, and I think it's putting, as I've already said, undue pressure on people at that age who are already studying for exams, and the curriculum is already overstretched. So, I would urge people to support my amendments, and you won't change my opinion. Thank you very much.
Thank you. If amendment 114 is agreed to, amendments 37 and 115 will fall. The question is that amendment 114 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Therefore we proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. [Interruption.] I've opened the vote. I did say 'open the vote', thank you. Close the vote. For the motion 11, no abstentions, 45 against, therefore 114 is not agreed.
The Counsel General to move amendment 37.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 37 (Jeremy Miles).
Amendment 37 (Jeremy Miles) moved.
The question is amendment 37 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the amendment 36, no abstentions, 20 against, therefore amendment 37 is agreed to.
Caroline Jones, amendment 115.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 115 (Caroline Jones).
Amendment 115 (Caroline Jones) moved.
Yes. Okay, thank you. The question is amendment 115 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Therefore, proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the amendment five, no abstentions, 51 against, therefore 115 falls.
David Melding, amendment 270.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 270 (David Melding).
Amendment 270 (David Melding) moved.
Thank you. The question is that amendment 270 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Therefore we proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the amendment 14, one abstention, 41 against, therefore amendment 270 is not agreed.
I now intend to take a 10-minute break. We will ring the bell after five minutes, but I would urge you all to be back in time to start. Thank you.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 18:04 ac 18:15.
The meeting adjourned between 18:04 and 18:15.
Right, if I can call Members to order, we'll reconvene.
The next group is group 3. The amendments relate to the extension of the right to vote to foreign nationals and associated electoral registration. The lead amendment in this group is amendment 38, and I call on the Counsel General to move and speak to the lead amendment and any other amendments in the group. Counsel General.
Cynigiwyd gwelliant 38 (Jeremy Miles).
Amendment 38 (Jeremy Miles) moved.
Thank you, Dirprwy Lywydd. We are seeking to amend the Bill with respect to who may vote in Senedd elections for both principled and practical reasons. At present, European Union and Commonwealth citizens may vote in the Senedd elections. This means citizens of other countries, such as the United States of America, who have lived, worked and raised a family here are not able to vote. Our view is that people who contribute to the economic and cultural life of our communities should have a say in the future of that community. Therefore, we are proposing amendments to the Bill to extend the franchise at Senedd elections to foreign citizens who are legally resident in Wales, and we've included a clear definition of what that means. People who do not require leave to enter or remain in the UK, or those who do require leave and have been granted any description of such leave, will be able to vote in Senedd elections.
Ensuring foreign citizens may register and vote in Senedd elections on or after 5 April 2021 is achieved by amendments 35, 38 and 39. Amendment 40 includes the definition of who may be considered a qualifying foreign citizen for these purposes, and that is someone, as I say, who either does not require leave to enter, or who does and has been granted any description of such leave. This set of amendments dealt with ensuring foreign citizens are added to the franchise, and are able to be added to the register for local government electors. The next category of amendments laid in my name address the practical considerations to ensure administrators have the appropriate information needed to register electors, and that all electors have access to the same mechanisms for registration and voting.
Amendments 41 and 42 are consequential to enfranchising foreign citizens, and are necessary so that registration officers have the information they need in order to add an individual to the electoral register. The Electoral Commission must amend a prescribed 'invitation to register' form to include reference to qualifying foreign citizens. All electors should have equal access to the mechanisms that enable registration and voting. These mechanisms include declarations of local connection, service declarations and being able to act as a proxy voter.
Declarations of local connection allow electors, in certain circumstances, to register by reference to an address at which they have a connection. This is extended to foreign citizens by amendments 43 and 44. Service declarations enable those serving in the armed forces, British Council or in service of the Crown, and their spouses and partners, to register to vote. Amendments 45, 46 and 47 extend this mechanism to qualifying foreign nationals, including where they are residing with partners or spouses, in the armed forces, British Council or in service of the crown.
For practical purposes, the parliamentary and local government register of electors should be combined when necessary, and amendment 48 amends section 22 of the Bill and ensures the combined parliamentary and local government register of electors must be marked to show that qualifying foreign nationals are entitled to vote only at local government and Senedd elections.
Amendments 49, 50, 51 and 52 insert a new definition of 'qualifying foreign citizen' into the National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order 2007, and enables qualifying foreign citizens, aged 16 and over, to act as proxy voters at Senedd polls. Amendment 50 removes unnecessary wording from the definition of 'qualifying Commonwealth citizen'.
Amendment 69 makes changes to the provision about the coming into force of Part 3 of the Bill. The effect of the amendment is that whilst most of Part 3 comes into force upon Royal Assent, it does so for the purposes of voting at, and registering for, an election to the Senedd that takes place on or after 5 April 2021. This amendment means that the newly enfranchised can be registered for the purposes of the 2020 annual canvass.
Amendments 73, 74 and 75 are tabled as a consequence of the extension of the franchise to foreign citizens. Their effect is to add qualifying foreign citizens to the list of persons not disqualified from being a Member of the Senedd or a candidate in an election to become a Member of the Senedd. At present, in addition to British citizens, Irish and other EU citizens and qualifying Commonwealth citizens are entitled to stand for election and be Members of the Assembly. The Welsh Government believes that citizens of other countries should likewise be eligible for candidacy and membership, provided they are resident in the UK and either do not need leave to enter or remain in the UK under the immigration legislation, or did, indeed, need leave but have been granted indefinite leave to remain.
The rationale for extending the rights to candidacy and membership to qualifying foreign citizens is straightforward. They are eligible to work here, they pay their taxes here, and they can and do make a significant contribution to our society. There is no good reason to disqualify them, and every reason to allow them the opportunity to make further contributions through service in elected office, whether in local government or in this place, and I invite the Senedd to endorse that conclusion. Dirprwy Llywydd, I commend these amendments to the Assembly.
I turn now to amendments by Caroline Jones and David Melding. I have clearly set out the Government’s position in relation to extending the franchise to foreign citizens. Our stated aim is to ensure that everyone who contributes to the cultural and economic future of Wales should have a stake in our democracy. For that reason, we ask Members to reject amendment 96, which seeks to remove the right to vote from 16 and 17-year-olds, and amendments 39A, 39B, 52A and 52B, which seek to change the amendments laid in my name enfranchising foreign citizens.
Thank you. David Melding.
Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. I do think it's unfortunate that such a major change to our electoral arrangements has been proposed in this manner. It's piggybacking on a Commission Bill that thoroughly considered whether foreign nationals should be addressed in it, and, as the explanatory memorandum points out, found there was no consensus and now was not the time. It also shows that there's a lot that's been slipshod in our approach to electoral arrangements. We're legislating a bit here, promising a bit there and then squeezing in by amendment—amendment—a major extension of the franchise that's not based on our citizenship. This, surely, requires scrutiny, committee work and examination. And what you have suggested, to bring in such massive changes—. You're supposed to be there defending the making of coherent law and you've brought in massive amendments that fundamentally affect the principle of what's here.
I do think we have to have at the basis of your right to vote a concept of citizenship. Now, we can be very generous about that and we can be expansive about it. We have allowed through our common European citizenship members of the European Union or citizens of the European Union to vote in sub-state elections in the United Kingdom. We have a nearly century of practice of allowing citizens of the Republic of Ireland who come and settle in Britain to vote in our elections, and we have reciprocal rights in Ireland. And I think there is the nub: if we have reciprocal rights and we want to extend this principle, then there's a basis for it. But, really, whilst people who decide to live and work here are most welcome for their contribution, their citizenship should determine where they principally vote, and if they make the choice not to pursue citizenship here, then it's their choice not to have political rights to the extent of voting in our elections. So, at the very least, if we want to establish a different principle, then it should be properly scrutinised. So, I think it's very, very unfortunate, fellow Members, that we have decided—well, the Government, rather has decided—to proceed on this issue in this manner. And just for the reasons if none other than coherent law making, I think we have to say on this occasion 'no'. If you want to bring this principle back in a separate Bill, then, okay, let's do the scrutiny properly and make law properly so that our citizens currently can understand why such a fundamental extension of the right to vote is being made. I move our amendments.
I wholeheartedly agree with everything David Melding has just said. I haven't heard him speak with such anger since he was resisting a 'no deal' Brexit in a recent debate.
I think the timing of this is absolutely shocking. I think it's three weeks since we had, in Brighton, the Labour Party pass, at its conference, a motion saying that it wanted to extend free movement not just to the European Union but the entire world, to lift immigration restrictions and controls, and then to extend an immediate right to vote to all foreign nationals. And we see here in Wales—straight afterwards, we see a First Minister, a Counsel General, defending this shocking amendment to legislation with no preparation.
We were hearing just now from the Llywydd about Rosemary Butler and the work that she did and the consultation all that time ago, when we didn't have the powers, about voting rights for 16 and 17-year-olds. However much I may oppose that, I admit, and I'm very clear, that the ground for that has been prepared, and has been considered very carefully over a long period of time. There has been no equivalent consideration for this. It negates the concept of citizenship and the link between citizenship and voting.
Now, I didn't really support it at the time, but I think, given the passage of time, what the European Union did around voting rights municipal, i.e. local council elections, has become something that's been gradually accepted, and, in principle, I would have no objection to the extension of that to other foreign nationals. But in our national election, for what we consider very far from being a municipal election, but a national election, with so little thought, to shove this on to the Bill now, I think it's impossible to avoid the conclusion that it is for narrow partisan reasons—
And so is your opposition.
—with virtually no thought. The First Minister couldn't even give me an estimate when I asked him yesterday of the numbers that would be affected, let alone if they were to get their policy of allowing anyone from the whole world to come here without the immigration controls that we've had before and have the immediate right to vote without consideration or consultation. This is simply wrong.
I would like to strike a chord of optimism and to say clearly that anyone who has chosen to make their home in Wales is welcome here. EU citizens and those born in other parts of our world enrich our lives here in Wales, and our culture, and they should be given the right to vote in our elections.
In the aftermath of the Brexit debate that was, at times, so poisonous, Theresa May said that people who supported being members of the European Union somehow wanted to be citizens of nowhere. What a crass, unimaginative and narrow statement that was—to believe that diversity somehow diminishes us when, in fact, it is the opposite. Learning from other cultures widens our horizons; learning other languages opens further windows on our world. In streets the length and breadth of our nation, we live together, we celebrate sporting success together, we mark life's milestones together. We mourn together. We are living our lives alongside one another, and the decisions made in this place affect everyone's lives just the same. And so I would repeat that the people living in Wales today, wherever they were born, should be considered full citizens of Wales and they should have the associated rights, including the right to vote.
Abraham Lincoln said that 'elections belong to the people'. Well, it stands to reason that they should belong to all people living in that nation. Through voting, we offer citizens a voice, a chance to change things. For too long we have predicated that right on the happenstance of where someone happened to be born rather than where they've chosen to live out their life. The Plaid Cymru benches are proud to support the Government's amendments on this issue. We are proud to support the rights of every person who has made Wales their home, who contributes to our society, to participate in our democracy. Diolch.
Thank you. Can I now call on the Llywydd?
Diolch. Nid oes gan Gomisiwn y Cynulliad safbwynt ar fater cynnwys dinasyddion tramor cymwys i'r etholfraint, ac, oherwydd hynny, fyddaf i ddim yn rhoi cyngor i Aelodau'r prynhawn yma ynghylch a ddylid cefnogi ynteu wrthwynebu gwelliannau 35, 38 i 52 yn enw'r Cwnsler Cyffredinol, na gwelliannau 39A, 52A a 52B yn enw David Melding chwaith. Fodd bynnag, dwi eisiau cynnig ychydig o sylwadau sy'n rhoi cyd-destun i'r Aelodau eu hystyried wrth gymryd penderfyniadau ar y gwelliannau yma.
Yn gyntaf, fe wnaeth y Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol nodi yn ei adroddiad Cyfnod 1 y byddai ymestyn hawliau pleidleisio i wladolion tramor yn cynrychioli newid sylweddol i’r etholfraint etholiadol. Roedd y pwyllgor o'r farn y dylid cynnwys darpariaethau o'r natur hon mewn Bil wrth ei gyflwyno, yn hytrach na chyflwyno gwelliant i Fil y Senedd ac Etholiadau.
Yn ail, bydd yr Aelodau'n ymwybodol y bydd y Bil hwn yn gofyn am fwyafrif o ddwy ran o dair o'r Aelodau i'w gefnogi yng Nghyfnod 4 y Bil. Pe bai pleidlais o'r fath yn methu, nid gwladolion tramor cymwys yn unig fyddai’n cael eu hepgor o’r etholfraint, ond byddai pobl ifanc 16 a 17 oed hefyd yn colli’r cyfle i bleidleisio am y tro cyntaf yn etholiadau 2021.
Yn drydydd, bydd Aelodau'n cofio bod Comisiwn y Cynulliad wedi ymgynghori ar y mater yma o gynnwys dinasyddion tramor cymwys i'r etholfraint. Roedd 66 y cant o ymatebwyr i ymgynghoriad Comisiwn y Cynulliad, 'Creu Senedd i Gymru', yn cefnogi datganiad y dylai holl breswylwyr Cymru allu pleidleisio yn etholiadau'r Cynulliad, ni waeth beth yw eu cenedligrwydd nhw.
Ac, yn olaf, fel dwi wedi sôn eisoes, byddai'n fanteisiol i etholfraint y Cynulliad gael ei chysylltu â threfniadau arfaethedig Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer llywodraeth leol. Byddai hyn yn darparu fframwaith gweinyddol symlach, cydlynol ar gyfer etholiadau datganoledig yng Nghymru. Roedd 86 y cant o ymatebwyr i ymgynghoriad Comisiwn y Cynulliad o'r farn y dylid caniatáu i'r un bobl bleidleisio yn etholiadau'r Cynulliad â llywodraeth leol yng Nghymru.
Mae gwelliannau 73 i 75 y Cwnsler Cyffredinol yn darparu nad yw 'dinasyddion tramor cymwys' yn cael eu hanghymwyso rhag sefyll i'w hethol i'r Cynulliad, ac, er nad oes gan y Comisiwn safbwynt penodol ar y mater yma, fe fyddai'r gwelliannau yma'n gyson â'r egwyddor sy'n sail i'r cynigion polisi ar anghymwyso sydd wedi eu cynnwys yn y Bil, sef galluogi cynifer o bobl â phosib i sefyll i'w hethol i'r Cynulliad.
Rwy'n gefnogol, ar y cyfan, i welliant 69 y Cwnsler Cyffredinol i ddarpariaethau cychwyn y Bil. Fodd bynnag, byddwn yn gofyn i'r Cwnsler Cyffredinol ddweud wrth y Cynulliad pam ei fod yn bwriadu i ddarpariaethau sy'n ymwneud â'r Comisiwn Etholiadol ddod i rym drwy Orchymyn, a phryd fydd yn rhagweld y bydd Gweinidog yn gwneud Gorchymyn i'r perwyl hwnnw, ac y bydd yn sicrhau'r Cynulliad y bydd y darpariaethau sy'n ymwneud â'r Comisiwn Etholiadol yn dod i rym mewn pryd ar gyfer etholiadau Cynulliad 2021.
Byddwn yn annog yr Aelodau i wrthwynebu gwelliant 96 yn enw Caroline Jones, gan y byddai hyn yn dileu ymestyn yr etholfraint yn llwyr o gwmpas y Bil, gan gynnwys yr hyn sy'n gysylltiedig â gostwng yr oedran pleidleisio.
Thank you. The Assembly Commission does not have a position on the issue of qualifying foreign citizens, and, as such, I will not advise Members on whether to support or oppose the Counsel General's amendments 35, 38 to 52, or David Melding's amendments 39A, 52A and 52B. I will, however, offer a few contextual comments for Members to consider in making their decisions on these amendments.
First, the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee stated in its Stage 1 report that extending voting rights to foreign nationals would represent a significant change to the electoral franchise. The committee considered that provisions of this nature should be included in a Bill on introduction, rather than by introducing an amendment to the Senedd and elections Bill.
Second, Members will be aware that this Bill will require a two-thirds majority of Members at Stage 4. Should such a vote fail, it’s not just qualifying foreign nationals who would be disenfranchised, but young people of 16 and 17 years of age would also lose the opportunity to vote for the first time in the 2021 elections.
Third, Members will recall that the Assembly Commission did consult on this issue of including qualifying foreign nationals in the franchise, and 66 per cent of respondents to the Assembly Commission’s consultation ‘Creating a Parliament for Wales’ supported a statement that all residents of Wales should be able to vote in Assembly elections, irrespective of nationality.
Finally, as I’ve already mentioned, it would be advantageous for the Assembly franchise to be joined up with the Welsh Government’s intended arrangements for local government. This would provide a simpler, coherent administrative framework for devolved Welsh elections. Eighty-six per cent of respondents to the Assembly Commission’s consultation believe that the same people should be allowed to vote in Assembly elections and local government elections in Wales.
Amendments 73 to 75 in the name of the Counsel General provide that 'qualifying foreign citizens' are not disqualified from standing for election to the Assembly. Although the Commission has no particular position on this issue, these amendments would be consistent with the principle that underpins the policy proposals on disqualification that are included in the Bill, namely allowing as many people as possible to stand for election to the Assembly.
I am broadly supportive of amendment 69 in the name of the Counsel General to the commencement provisions. However, I would ask the Counsel General to inform the Assembly why he intends for provisions relating to the Electoral Commission to come into force by Order, and when he anticipates a Minister making an Order to that effect, to reassure the Assembly that the provisions related to the Electoral Commission will take effect in time for the Assembly elections of 2021.
I would urge Members to reject amendment 96 in the name of Caroline Jones, as this would remove the extension of the franchise entirely from the scope of the Bill, including changes related to reducing the voting age.
Thank you. I call on the Counsel General to reply to the debate.
Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. I thank Members for their contributions to the debate. I would associate myself very closely with the words of Delyth Jewell in her contribution to the debate. Now is the time to signal very clearly to people across the world that people who have chosen to make Wales their home, wherever they come from, and who contribute so richly to our communities, to our society, to our economy, to our public services, should feel entitled to play their full role in our democracy, both as voters and participants in that democracy and in election to this Assembly and—
Will the Counsel General give way?
I wonder if he could give us an example of any other countries in the world that entirely divorce citizenship from voting rights and extend voting rights to all foreign nationals.
Well, I heard the Member's contribution to the debate earlier, and I think the tone—the tone in which it was delivered to the Assembly Chamber I think was the most instructive part of the contribution. I'm absolutely clear that now is the right time for this institution to signal its commitment to people living in Wales, regardless of where they were born, who have made a commitment to live here and to participate fully in our society, and I am not prepared to be seduced by the view that the debate that he suggests ought to have been engaged in would be one in which his contribution would lead to that level of understanding and to supporting that level of inclusion.
David Melding made a point in relation to public engagement in relation to this, and I would reflect comments that the Llywydd made in her contribution as the Member in charge: in the consultation that the Assembly Commission undertook, 66 per cent of respondents agreed that all legal residents in Wales should be allowed to vote in Assembly elections. The Government agrees with that view. And they also believed—86 per cent of respondents believed—that the same people should be able to vote in local government and Senedd elections. So, the continuity and consistency with the local government Bill is an essential part of the vision of the Welsh Government and others to ensure that residents here in Wales play their full part in our democracy.
The Llywydd invited me to confirm that the intention is for the changes to come into effect through the Electoral Commission by the next elections, and I can commit that that's the case.
Thank you very much. The question is that amendment 38 be agreed to. Does any Member object? [Objection.] Therefore, we proceed to an electronic vote. Open the vote. Close the vote. For the motion 37, no abstentions, 16 against. Therefore, amendment 38 is agreed.