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Labour/Plaid Cymru Deal: Campaigners welcome agreement’s commitment to urgent Senedd reforms

Written by on 22nd November 2021

Campaigners have welcomed the breakthrough in Labour / Plaid Cymru deal on key Senedd reforms but urged more action needs to be taken to deliver ‘a fairer and more representative’ politics

The comments come as Labour and Plaid Cymru prepare to publish their co-operation agreement. The deal aims to “address issues which take the greatest political and policy effort to resolve” and looks to include plans to increase the size of the Senedd and legislate for gender quotas.In the document, seen by BBC Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said they would support an expansion from 60 to ‘80 to 100 members’, a voting system ‘which is as proportional – or more – than the current one’ and to introduce gender quotas in law.

Once a cross-party group has finished drawing up policies for a Senedd reform bill, Labour and Plaid Cymru promise to introduce the draft law “12 to 18 months” later.

Commenting on the news Jess Blair, Director, ERS Cymru said:

“Today’s deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru is a big step forward towards the kind of reform we need to create a parliament fit for the 21st Century in Wales. Only with a larger and more diverse Senedd will the government in Wales be able to meet the challenges we face as a country.

“But these measures alone will not be enough to deliver the fairer, more representative politics we need. To do that there must be agreement on the voting system used to elect a larger and stronger parliament. Without a commitment to a system like the single transferable vote, we risk undermining the steps made to deliver this much-needed reform. 

“The Labour / Plaid Cymru agreement is a historic one that has found cross-party agreement on some of the key issues that have gone unanswered for too long. We urge them to keep working together and match that success with the gaps that remain.”

Evelyn James, Campaign Manager at WEN Wales said:

“We are delighted by today’s announcement that there will be legally binding gender quotas in the Labour/Plaid Cymru co-operation agreement. This is a historic moment – quotas have always been a key ask of the Diverse 5050 campaign coalition and represent a huge step forward for guaranteeing gender equality in the Senedd for years to come.

“But gender equality on its own is not enough – we must do more we are to see a Senedd that truly reflects the Welsh population with greater representation for Black, Asian and minority ethnic women, disabled women, and LGBT women. As the 21 organisations behind the Diverse 5050 campaign, we want to see diversity quotas or strong positive measures to include all underrepresented groups in our politics. It took 20 years for a Black, Asian and minority ethnic woman to be elected to the Senedd and we cannot wait another 20 years for more to join her.”