Letter: Law backs Ashdown on TV debate

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The Independent Online
Sir: You report that Paddy Ashdown justifies the Liberal Democrats' constitutional deal with Labour as "giving the Scots and Welsh more say via their own assemblies" ("Ashdown defends Lib-Lab electoral pact", 10 March).

Until recently the Liberal Democrats supported an elected law-making parliament for both Wales and Scotland, with tax-varying powers. The "deal" which they have reached with Labour in Scotland via the Scottish Convention will allow such a parliament on the ballot paper in a referendum later this year.

Why then, have the Liberal Democrats compromised on an infinitely weaker proposal for Wales? The Welsh Assembly, which now the Liberal Democrats support, will have no primary law-making powers, no tax-varying powers and no direct voice in Europe.

Only two weeks ago, at their conference in Conwy, Welsh Liberal Democrats claimed that a law-making parliament, supported by them since the days of Lloyd George, was the most favoured option of the Welsh electorate,

To have sold out on a 100-year commitment to Wales for a minimalist degree of proportional representation is a rather sad end to a long and worthy Liberal tradition.

DAFYDD WIGLEY MP

President, Plaid Cymru

House of Commons

London SW1

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