2 statements co-authored by the First Minister in response to the All-Wales convention report on power transfer from Westminster…..The first, issued jointly with Secretary of State Peter Hain and chair of Welsh Labour Gary Owen, reads thus:
“1. We welcome the detailed report by the All Wales Convention and reaffirm Welsh Labour’s commitment to primary legislative powers for the Welsh Assembly (under Part 4 of the 2006 Act), and to campaign for these in a succsessful referendum.
2. Because a ‘No’ vote in a referendum could set back devolution for several decades, triggering the referendum process needs to be based on a firm prospect that public opinion is ready to respond positively in the referendum.
3. Our internal policy process has already begun: Welsh Labour’s Welsh Joint Policy Committee has met, prioritised the need to campaign for a General Election victory, and agreed to start considering the All Wales Convention report in detail as a prelude to stepping-up wider Party consultation with AMs and MPs, councillors, trade unionists and members as soon as the General Election is over.”
That was in the morning – the second, issued jointly last night with Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid’s Deputy First Minister, says this:
“The Assembly Government once again reaffirms its commitment to the One Wales agreement in relation to a referendum on Part Four powers.
Both parties recognise the difficulties which would be created for a purposeful and united ‘Yes’ campaign, if that were attempted to be held during the run up to a General Election.
Both recognise that a successful ‘Yes’ campaign will rest on mobilising support from all political Parties in Wales, and from those who have no political affiliation.
Otherwise, all options for the timing of a referendum remain open. Nothing has been ruled in or ruled out, including, if it proved practical, a referendum in the autumn.”
Given a May General Election and a wider Party consultation it looks like Rhodri speaks with two tongues. Peter Hain is speaking to the assembly at 2.30 to (as we’d say pre Gorbachev) resolve the contradiction….