To BBC Wales's credit they have simplified the details that may be changed in the latest clutch of Devo Dibyn Bach that Welsh Secretary Stephen Crab has promised to look in to after the overwhelming criticism of his latest Bill
The Beeb points to three specific areas which have attracted criticism (in Blue):
- The size and content of the reservation list: The reservation list is pretty sizeable, with at least 260 reservations in the bill. There were concerns it was too long, and first minister Carwyn Jones complained of "anomalies" among the individual powers. For instance, the list would withhold licensing opencast mining to Westminster, but devolve land restoration.
- Minister of crown consents: This is where Welsh ministers must seek consent from UK ministers for new Assembly laws which affect something the UK government remains responsible for. They exist already where Assembly laws put duties on non-devolved bodies. But there were fears that the way they are implemented in the draft bill gives rise to an "English veto" on Welsh laws, as Mr Jones suggested, with the consents effectively extended.
- Necessity tests: These would be needed to be passed if the assembly would make changes to criminal or civil law to enforce its new laws. The assembly would need to show the new law was necessary to perform a devolved function. This was needed, the UK government argued, to preserve the single jurisdiction between England and Wales while allowing the assembly to still make effective laws. There were concerns that the test would reduce the assembly's ability to make law, create complexity and uncertainty, give rise to legal challenges and even freeze policy development.
Mr Crabb also launched a working group to look at distinct arrangements needed for the growing body of Welsh law - but has stopped short of backing a separate Welsh legal jurisdiction.
La Pasionaris the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats writing on the Subordinate Central Blog seems to believe that Mr Crabb has indicated that anything coming out of such a working party will need another referendum.
For such a major and complicated issue, it is understandable that the UK Government wants to establish a working group to look potential changes to the legal jurisdiction. However, it is quite frankly absurd that the Secretary of State believes this issue would require a referendum.
Having rightly removed the need for a referendum on tax varying powers, it is nothing short of bizarre to suggest another one. The last thing the people of Wales want is yet another technical referendum on the constitution.
If this is the case then Ms Williams is right in her disdain , but considering already had we have had the Silk Commission looking into some of this perhaps Mr Crabb should do some do some late night reading of the report , rather than than set up another bloody Committee.
We must remember that Crabs tend to move sideways in their movement and its possible if not probable the Welsh Secretary will try and do the same.