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Welsh Questions 8th December 2010

Women in Wales will be hit harder by the UK Government’s planned public spending cuts than men, according to the Shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain.

During Welsh Questions in the Commons, he made that point and asked the Welsh Secretary “as the first woman Secretary of State” if she was proud of the Westminster coalition’s attitude to women.

In response, Cheryl Gillan said the government had considered all possible impacts on women and pointed out that the number of job losses forecast has decreased.

Ms Gillan also had some interesting news for constitution-watchers.

She told MPs that the Wales Office is preparing for life after next year’s Assembly powers referendum.

If the vote is yes, she said, then there will automatically be a changed relationship between Westminster and Wales.

But if the vote is no, the UK government will still examine how to make the current system of transferring powers to Cardiff Bay more efficient.

In other words, there’ll be change to the much-criticised LCO sytem, regardless which way you vote.

You might think that saying that will strengthen the No campaign’s argument that the current system – with a bit of tidying up – is strong enough.

But it might also bolster the Yes campaigners trying to counter the claim that the referendum is the thin end of an independence wedge.

One other point to remark on from Welsh Questions. When the Welsh Office Minister David Jones took a question from his opposite number Owen Smith, he congratulated the Pontypridd MP for winning the member to watch category in this week’s Welsh Political Awards.

And he added, “Can I reassure him that I am watching him.”

 

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About Adrian Masters

By day, Political Editor at ITV Wales. By night, obsessed with music and books.

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