The announcement by the Secretary of State for Wales that the legislative process for the Wales Bill will be paused not only makes constitutional sense but, say Huw Pritchard and Lleu Williams, it’s good politics. The decision followed numerous critical reports, including a joint report by the Wales Governance Centre and the Constitution Unit.
The Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, has promised to make ‘significant changes’ to the draft Wales Bill, a promise that has been warmly welcomed by many commentators.
Most notably, the Secretary of State promised to ‘pause’ the legislative process of the draft bill as the Wales Office undertakes these significant changes. This announcement follows reports by the Wales Governance Centre and the Constitution Unit, the Welsh Affairs Select Committee and the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee in Cardiff Bay which all raised concerns about the draft legislation.
The changes announced by the Secretary of State will:
- Remove the necessity test, so that the National Assembly can change the law without the need to apply this test
- Reduce the size of the reservation list in the Draft Wales Bill
- Remove the general restriction on the National Assembly modifying a Minister of the Crown function in devolved areas