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Politics, Welsh Government

Silk Commission: could reduce the Assembly’s powers.

The Welsh Secretary has told tonight’s Sharp End that the Commission looking at devolution in Wales could recommend that some powers be removed from the Assembly as well as that more could be transferred.

As I reported on Tuesday, Cheryl Gillan launched the commission under the leadership of former Assembly official Paul Silk to look first at the finances and then at the wider powers devolved from London to Cardiff.

According to its terms and references the commission will

review the powers of the National Assembly for Wales in the light of experience and … recommend modifications to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the United Kingdom Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales to better serve the people of Wales.

It’s fair to say this is being taken by supporters and critics as meaning the Commission will look at the possible transfer of further powers in the future.

But when I asked the Secretary of State if it could consider taking away powers from the Assembly, she said ‘I’ve not ruled anything out.’

So, I asked, in theory the Commissioners could recommend reducing power?

‘In theory the report could recommend that in certain areas if they wanted to,’ she said but emphasised she’s asked Paul Silk to work to win agreement for whatever he recommends.

‘I’m not looking for confrontation,’ she added.

Others might though, which is why a number of MPs from different parties including her own expressed admiration privately for her managing to get all parties on board in the first place.

Whether or not they stay on board is another question and one of the other questions I put to Cheryl Gillan.

You can see my interview with her in tonight’s Sharp End at 1035pm ITV1 Wales.

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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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