The Lion and the Unicorn


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Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Richard Commission on the Assembly of Wales

The terms of reference for the Welsh Assembly included a remit to set up a commission that would review the first term of the assembly: for the efficacy of its administrative abilities vis a vis Whitehall and the electoral procedures established.

The Richard Commission was established under Lord Richard of Ammanford, a Labour peer whose biography is not included in the press release, in order to give a veneer of impartiality. The head of this Commission should not have had any overt political affiliation.

There are four members appointed by each of the political parties and five "public" members who answered an advert and were interviewed by Lord Richard. Lo and behold, two of them are former chief executives of local councils, a skill required in navigating the murky depths of local politics.

They have to report by 2003: no further powers except some tinkering at the edges; and party lists to further erode constituency recognition. I hope that Plaid Cymru and the Tories are not too disappointed at this Lobour influenced commission that will probably give an A* for effort in the next exam year.