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Renewed call for referendum on increase in Senedd members dismissed | UK News

A renewed call for a referendum on an increase in the number of Senedd members has been dismissed.

The Welsh government recently outlined its plans to increase the number of Senedd members from 60 to 96.

Speaking in the Senedd chamber on Wednesday, the Welsh Conservatives’ chief whip, Darren Millar, claimed constituents were “overwhelmingly opposed” to the plans.

“If you are so convinced that there is public support, then what do you have to fear from a referendum,” he asked.

The Welsh government’s attorney general, Mick Antoniw, said Wales had a parliamentary democracy and the Senedd operated on the basis of “putting manifestos to the people”.

“The people endorse those manifestos. And I think the people expect us to carry through those manifestos and deliver on the promises that we have made,” he said.

“I don’t think the member is actually really interested in a referendum at all. I think he just sees that if it’s delayed sufficiently, maybe there’s a possibility that legislation might not take place.”

In the Labour Party’s manifesto for the 2021 Senedd election, the party pledged to “develop proposals to improve the representation of the people of Wales in their parliament”.

A special purpose committee on Senedd reform published its final report in May 2022, which recommended increasing the number of Senedd members to 96.

Read more:
More Senedd members among Drakeford’s top priorities
Automatically registering Welsh voters will ‘remove barriers’

First Minister Mark Drakeford has previously said that a “clear and compelling case for Senedd reform” had been repeatedly made.

“This included power for the Senedd to legislate to change its size, and without requirement for a referendum,” he said.

“Similarly, a referendum has not been required in the reduction of Wales’s MPs from 40 to 32, as a result of boundary reform changes being introduced in Westminster.”

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