Welsh language to be allowed in the Commons

The Times (£) has more than one echo today..

After a six month campaign..

The government confirmed yesterday that it would bring forward a motion to allow MPs to speak the language when the Welsh grand committee meets in Westminster, despite rejecting the change last year on cost grounds. The committee, made up of all 40 MPs representing Wales, meets every two months.

Chris Bryant, who campaigned for the change when he was shadow leader of the Commons, said he was “very pleased. I grew up in Spain where Franco made it illegal to speak Catalan and Basque, so minority languages have always been something I’m passionate about. One of parliament’s oldest rules is that the language is English. So this is a welcome change.”

Although Mr Bryant does not speak Welsh, the MP for Rhondda said he was “looking forward” to watching debates in the language. “We will be able to witness the Welsh grand committee change into the Welsh grandstanding committee,” he added.

Asked whether he would campaign for Welsh to be spoken in the Commons chamber Mr Bryant said he would not. “You’d have to have simultaneous translation and that would be very costly. Parliament has enough complications with microphones, cameras and too few seats, it doesn’t need an added complication.”

 

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  • Msiegnaro

    Typical the individual campaigning for the introduction of Welsh does not speak the language. This is an unnecessary development and whilst I feel the need to protect all minority languages, their actual use in public service branches should be of a practical benefit to all.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Swydd da!

  • Paul Culloty

    Surprised it’s actually taken this long for Welsh to be permitted for official use, given that Lloyd George famously used it as his native tongue. Even further back, in 1900, the Kerry Home Rule MP, Thomas O’Donnell, attempted to give his maiden speech in Irish, but was promptly ruled out of order by the Speaker! Pob lwc to Mr Bryant and Cymru’s Honourable Members.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Allowed” Ho humm…..

    I do not think Liam McGoilla Brid (“Lord Ashbourne”) asked anyone’s permittion when he regailed the House of Lords with a fine maiden speech entirely in Irish, clad in his “Revival” kilt, brat and plimsoles! The speaking English deformed the mouth, he fervently believed, also considering that wearing leather shoes deformed the feet:

    http://www.irishmeninparis.org/writers-and-journalists/lord-ashbourne

  • Jag

    “Echo”? It would be an echo if there was to be a committee debate in Westminster in Irish.

    Surely, the echo is the Welsh Assembly where Welsh is routinely (12% of contributions in the most recently analysed year) spoken. Just like in the Dail, Irish is routinely spoken (usually just a few words or sentences). That’s the echo.

  • Jag

    If Westminster is not going to honour its promise to introduce an Irish Language Act, perhaps it’s time for civil disobedience. Westminster is sensitive to the financial returns from here, perhaps a rates strike, withholding PAYE/NI, VAT, that type of thing.

  • Paul Hagan

    Brian I think this only applies to the Welsh Grand Committee, which doesn’t normally meet in the House of Commons chamber itself, but usually in a separate Committee Room. Back in June Susan Elan Jones, the MP for Clwyd South asked if Welsh could used in the Commons chamber when discussing Welsh matters, but this was refused. Jones herself is fluent in Welsh, and took her Parliamentary Oath of Allegiance to the Queen in Welsh. There are some instances in Brussels where Welsh representatives can use Welsh in EU debates. So it’s Welsh to be Westminster (or Sant Steffan as they say in Wales) not the Commons.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    Have an inquiry…come to Wales and see the resentment that Welsh language legislation has in Wales..where jobs go to Welsh speakers before the best candidates . Millions spent and an elite living off it…. try reading my electricity bill..81 per cent don’t speak it and another 10 per cent do not have fluent status. The core community is in decline, and the thriving Welsh medium schools do not engender substantive number of families becoming first language. A Welsh language Commissioner and a target for a million Welsh speakers by 2013..fantasy politics. A language Act, just grows and grows. English medium schools have to use incidental Welsh and the language is compulsory to 16. No opt out was given to border area schools.

  • Katyusha

    Robert, if the job requires you to speak Welsh to some degree, then Welsh speakers are the best candidates.
    In what circumstances would speaking a second language be a disadvantage?

  • John Collins

    ‘Typical the individual campaigning for the introduction of Welsh does not speak the language’
    Does he have to be proficient in Welsh?
    Several prominent people like the Duke of Wellington who campaigned for Catholic Emancipation were not Catholics.
    I am sure several people who support the diabolical practise that is foxhunting never rode to hounds.
    I know several people who disliked Irish when they were going to school but now have children or granchildren who are happy to learn and indeed love the language.
    Attitudes to languages change over time. A few generations ago it was regarded as backward and a symbol of poverty in some quarters to speak a minority language, but now the view is held by more people that the preservation of these languages is important and something distinctive and well worth maintaining.

  • Katyusha

    I don’t get this. Does this mean that Welsh is currently not allowed to be spoken in Westminster.
    Is everyone barred from speaking a language other than English there?

    I don’t get it. I mean, there’s little point trying to debate in Welsh if your opposite number understands it, but for occasional remarks or if someone wants to make a speech in the language it should be fine, really. What are the grounds for not being allowed to use Welsh?

  • Old Mortality

    ‘withholding PAYE/NI, VAT, that type of thing..’
    I think that’s the most risible ‘threat’ I’ve heard for a while, rivalled only by local GP’s threatening to leave the NHS.

  • Msiegnaro

    I have no qualms in maintaining these language but we have to box smart.

  • Brian Walker

    Yes..Paul..the story makes it clear that it’s in Grand Committee.Part of the Commons I assure you, if not the chamber

  • Jag

    More risible than SF de-recognising the PSNI? There were two parties to the ceasefire agreement, with two sets of rights and obligations. If one party doesn’t fulfill their obligations, what ya gonna do.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    In welsh medium specific contexts…..but not in general ones….

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    and a hundred years of teaching Irish…has caused more resentment than a national resurgence. In Wales the language issue prevents nationalism ever displacing Labour, as in Scotland..

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    I can speak Welsh…..don’t you mean Irish?

  • John Collins

    Robert
    Attitudes are changing in Ireland.
    Thousands of young people are attending Gaelscoills in the Republic, where every subject are taught through Irish. As mentioned to Msiennaro above there is a new confidence in Ireland in things Irish.
    With an influx of immigrants to Ireland of people who speak their languages unashamedly it seems to have convinced young Irish people that the Irish Language is an importantpart of our heritage, as so many Welsh people think Welsh is a part of theirs.

  • Paul Hagan

    Thanks Brian!

  • Reader

    katyusha: What are the grounds for not being allowed to use Welsh?
    I suspect people have been careless with the wording “allowed”. The cost argument is the clue – whatever you say won’t be recorded, won’t be translated, and almost no-one will understand it. If you go on for a while the Speaker may point out that you are wasting the time of hundreds of people who can’t understand what you are saying and are unlikely to be influenced in favour of your argument.
    The change in the rules relates to the “Welsh Grand Committee”, and presumably means that interpreters and recorders will be on hand whenever it meets.

  • Reader

    Jag: Westminster is sensitive to the financial returns from here…
    Well, that would be the final conclusive test of whether we raise more in taxes than we spend, as it would be trivially easy for Westminster to cut Stormont’s budget by the exact amount of lost revenue, plus a service charge.

  • Katyusha

    If you go on for a while the Speaker may point out that you are wasting the time of hundreds of people who can’t understand what you are saying

    Sounds like a perfect language to filibuster in then. ;p

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    They have to have a cause in life..now they have rejected Catholicism…..

  • grumpy oul man

    A strange view. Only Welsh speakers can campaign for the welsh language.
    Im not black does this mean i cant support racail equality.
    I’m a male so i cant support sexual equality.
    Im a athiest so i cannot support relegious equality.
    Wise up.

  • grumpy oul man

    Well thats progress.
    Lets be honest the church did not cover itself in glory when it was a power in Ireland.
    But how do you explain the many Catholics learning Irish.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Is the record for that held by an Ulster unionist?

  • John Collins

    Do not worry, we have plenty other interests in life. Maybe you should try it sometime.

  • John Collins

    I do not know,but I understand the Irish HR Party were prone to make a pure game of it altogether.

  • John Collins

    And let us not forget that many Protestants have done much to keep the language alive.