§ 10. Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received to date concerning his plans to establish a Welsh economic council.
§ Mr. Wigley
On this, St. David's day, will the Secretary of State accept that an economic council will not do away with the democratic deficit in Wales or improve the accountability of the Welsh Office and the Welsh quangos to the people of Wales? Does he accept that the only way in which we shall get sensitive government that can concentrate attention on the needs of Wales and respond to the widespread dissatisfaction with the present system of government is to have our own parliament in Cardiff that will be answerable to the people of Wales?
§ Mr. Hunt
That point was not made in the 88 representations that I received, so the hon. Gentleman has made it on this occasion. I had hoped that he would say that he very much welcomed the proposal for a Welsh economic council. That has certainly been the view of almost everyone who responded to the consultation document.
I recognise that the hon. Gentleman has a longstanding commitment to the establishment of a bureaucratic Welsh assembly, but he knows that he and I have differed in that respect for a long time. Notwithstanding that background, I hope that he will welcome a Welsh economic council.