HC Deb 30 April 1984 vol 59 cc11-2
10. Mr. Hooson

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received regarding a Welsh assembly in the past year.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

None, Sir.

Mr. Hooson

Does not that information like the 1979 referendum, confirm that the people of Wales see no need for a Welsh Assembly? That being so, is it not astonishing that the Leader of the Opposition, who once opposed such an Assembly, has now somersaulted and is advocating two such bodies for Wales?

Mr. Edwards

I find it surprising that the Leader of the Opposition, having spent many hours in alliance with me opposing the Labour Government's devolution proposals, should now make proposals which inculude establishing a north Wales regional assembly apparently to supervise the two county authorities there. It is indeed a most extraordinary proposal.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Does the Secretary of State accept that if there is a strong vote for parties which support democracy in Wales in the forthcoming Aberdare by-election and the vote obtained by the Conservatives is derisory, the Government should take note of that?

Mr. Edwards

I hope that the hon. Gentleman has taken note of the results of the last general election and its disastrous consequences for Plaid Cymru, which was dismissed with contempt by the electorate in Wales on a scale not known for many years.

Mr. Geraint Howells

Does the Secretary of State agree that although the Labour Government's proposals for devolution were rejected in 1979, the principle of devolving power to the people of Wales was not?

Mr. Edwards

I would take suggestions from the hon. Gentleman more seriously if I were not aware of the recent debate among Liberals as to the kinds of proposals that they might now consider. I noted, however, that, as a result of the activities of one of the hon. Gentleman's parliamentary colleagues, they at least had the good sense to throw out the suggestion that there should be a large number of nominated members, apparently to be nominated by Lord Hooson.