Friday, 21 May 2010

‘Yes’ campaign

I have today written to Paul Davies AM and thought I would share my thoughts with you:

"I am writing to update you on what seems to be the position in relation to the forthcoming referendum on full powers.

As you know, two years ago I suggested to you that you should be the nominee from our Group for a ‘Yes’ campaign organisation and you kindly agreed to this. I discussed the need for such a group with Rhodri Morgan, and subsequently with Carwyn Jones.

I have now written to the First Minister once again to take action on this front. There is already a campaigning ‘No’ organisation up and running and, alas, there is no balancing ‘Yes’ organisation.

As you know our Group has discussed the timing of the referendum and this has also been discussed by the Party. I have repeatedly pressed Carwyn Jones to rule out a referendum on the same day as the Assembly elections. Until yesterday he had failed to do that but I am very pleased that he now seems to have come round to this view. Kirsty Williams, in fairness, had also argued strongly that the Assembly election day should be ruled out.

Alas it seems obvious from Cheryl’s public statement and the evidence that little work has been done on this matter by Peter Hain since the request for a referendum went in from the Assembly. Our firm preference would still be of an October referendum as I think this would ensure that the issue did not get inextricably linked with the Assembly election campaign. The lack of action from the government parties in the Assembly, and from Peter Hain, seems to make this unlikely to say the least.

I am copying this letter to Catrin Edwards as Chairman of the Party in Wales, and to Cheryl Gillan.

As soon as I have a response from Carwyn Jones and the other Leaders about a campaigning group for a ‘Yes’ vote I will inform you and the Group in the Assembly and the wider party. "

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