HC Deb 18 March 1974 vol 870 cc639-41
1. Mr. D. E. Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what form the discussions in Wales on the report of the Royal Commission on the Constitution outlined in Her Majesty's Gracious Speech will take; and how soon he expects subsequent proposals will be brought forward for consideration.

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. John Morris)

The Government will undertake all appropriate consultations and will announce their intentions as soon as possible.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

May I point out to the Secretary of State that there is great dissatisfaction in Wales at the delay in implementing the proposals of the Kilbrandon Commission and that there is a consensus in favour of an elected legislative assembly?

Mr. Morris

I am not aware of any dissatisfaction. All I am concerned with is that it was the last Labour Government who set up this commission. I was proud to be one of its midwives, and we will press on very urgently indeed, after holding the fullest possible consultations with those who want to make further representations.

Mr. Peter Thomas

May I congratulate the right hon. and learned Gentleman on his appointment and wish him and his colleagues well during their tenure of office? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the consensus in Wales is that any consitutional development must clearly relate to the real needs and the true wishes of the people of Wales as a whole and that, therefore, discussions are clearly needed before decisions are taken? As it appears to be apparent that the Labour Party's proposals for a directly elected Welsh Council will now have to be deferred pending the outcome of these discussions, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman state what he proposes to do about reconstituting the present Welsh Council?

Mr. Morris

I am encouraged by the right hon. and learned Gentleman's remarks about the need for discussions. These obviously will take place and, I hope, as urgently and as speedily as possible, compatible with the need to ensure that at the earliest possible moment we see an elected council in Cardiff which will meet the aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the Welsh people.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

May I add my personal congratulations to my right hon. and learned Friend and wish him a very long and successful tenure of office? Will he say whether it is his intention to publish a White Paper containing the Government's proposals in relation to an elected council, and will he indicate when we may expect this?

Mr. Morris

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his kind remarks. The form in which we shall publish our proposals has not yet been determined. What is important is to get on with the job as speedily as possible. I remind the House of the words in the Gracious Speech indicating that we will bring forward proposals for consideration". I am sure that the House will greatly value the consideration of those proposals.

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