This is one of the most disappointing posts that I've ever read on ConservativeHome. Despairing is probably a better adjective to use. How Wales is governed is a matter of great concern to me, and would be my principle interest if I were to be elected an MP. Though not directly connected to this issue, the 'row' has reinforced my opinion that the 2006 Government of Wales Act is the constitutional equivalent of a slow-motion car crash.
At the next General Election, I will be seeking election to the UK Parliament. Because of my almost obsessive interest in Welsh politics, many friends are surprised when I tell them that I would now prefer to be an MP than an Assembly Member. I explain to them that Wales is a part of the United Kingdom, that the National Assembly is a 'devolved' institution and a creation of the UK Parliament, and that I want to see our MPs enthusiastic about the creation of a successful and effective Assembly. It follows that I want there to be a stable UK constitution, which in turn spawns my enthusiasm for establishing a clear division of responsibilities. It is this approach that drives my belief that full law making powers should be transferred to the National Assembly in those policy areas that are devolved. The current position is, in my opinion, a constitutional crisis waiting to happen - and it seems that we won't have long to wait. Only last month, the Assembly's Presiding Officer was all over our TV screens talking about a complex matter concerning the transfer of power finishing up in the law courts. And now this. Thankfully, most of the media have signed off for Easter, so its unlikely that anyone outside the political 'village' will get to know about it. Let us look briefly at what's behind it.
A few days ago, the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron announced that should he become Prime Minister, he would want to submit himself to questioning by the National Assembly for Wales. I thought this a big deal - though I admit to being unsure about how it be arranged. I was looking forwards to a constructive discussion about what form this proposed annual meeting would take. So much of what happens in the Assembly flows from decisions by the UK Government, that an annual meeting with the Prime Minister seemed to me to be a really positive commitment by David. But it seems not - to some. This is one part of how the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly of Wales responded.
"The idea that the Prime Minister of the UK can breeze in for a Q & A isn't allowed under our standing orders and I have no intention of changing it. He is the first minister of another Government in terms of our constitution. I would think that if those people were serious they would have looked at the constitution. It smacks a bit of paternal unionism."
HE has no intention of allowing such a thing. It seems that the other 59 AMs are of no significance whatsoever. I despair.