The Chairman of the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee and Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, has spoken out against the Welsh Government’s proposal to boost the size of the Senedd during an evidence session with First Minister, Mark Drakeford, earlier this week (Wednesday 15th October).
The Labour-led Welsh Government has put forward proposals to expand the size of the Senedd which is expected to cost the taxpayer £120m. It will see a further 36 new Senedd Members under the plans which will require an estimated £6 million expansion of the Senedd chamber to accommodate 96 Senedd Members, their offices and a further £82 million for staff. But it will fundamentally change the way that Senedd Members are elected.
Expressing concern about the planned Senedd reform Stephen Crabb, said such a move would mean that there would “no longer be a single Member of the Senedd that represents a constituency”.
Under the Welsh Government plans, each region would be represented by six Senedd Members and not one single visible elected representative as it currently stands. This represents a substantial change from the existing electoral process for the Senedd which sees individual constituency Senedd members as well as regional members. In future all MS’s will be regional.
Mr Crabb speaking in the committee stated that the new system is a “recipe for fuzziness and confusion. A recipe for less accountability and scrutiny” which he believes “will not lead to a more effective Senedd.”
Following the committee meeting, Stephen Crabb added, “I just don’t think that people want to see more money spent on politicians in Cardiff Bay right now. This, combined with the millions spent on the 20mph blanket speed limit, just demonstrates that Welsh Government don’t have their priorities right. They are spending money on vanity projects while cutting vital public services. What is angering the public now is the lack of consultation on how taxpayers’ money is spent in Wales.”