Welsh Lib Dems reiterate commitment to Senedd Reform Bill

TODAY (30th January 2024) in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have once again reiterated their commitment to the Senedd Reform Bill. Whilst also calling for an axing of the proposed closed list voting system in favour of the single transferable vote method.

Commenting, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

“We are firmly committed to the Senedd Reform Bill’s general principles. Reforming the Senedd and expanding its membership is vital if we are to be an effective legislature that provides the robust scrutiny expected by the people of Wales.

This Bill represents a rare opportunity for a chance at renewal and a revitalisation of our democracy.

However, we are at serious risk of missing this window, due to the widely criticised closed party list proposal from both the Welsh Labour government and their Plaid Cymru partners.

I am still yet to hear a single credible argument for how the closed list system meets democratic principles. But I have heard plenty of experts, such as Professor Lauren McAllister, who have disparaged it for reducing voter choice.

Labour and Plaid Cymru argue that their reforms represent a progressive step away from the status quo. Yet it is difficult to avoid the impression that Labour and Plaid are prioritising party control over voter choice, placing politics over pragmatism.

We know that a more proportional and flexible list would enhance voter choice, so why are Labour and Plaid so intent on supporting a system that nobody wants.

It’s not too late for either the Government or the Siambr to consider a different approach.

There is still time for a course correction, not just on the voting system but also on job sharing, casual vacancies, review mechanisms and candidate names on ballots.

We as a Senedd currently find ourselves at a crossroad, and it is crucial that we take the right direction towards reshaping our democracy for the better.


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