Use of Emergency Bill is an abuse of democratic process – William Powell

2013 Mehefin 25 1:06 PM

Responding to the Welsh Labour Government's announcement that there will be an Emergency Bill on Agricultural wages, William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Rural Affairs, commented:

"The use of an Emergency Bill for this legislation is opportunistic and completely undermines the democratic process.

"The Welsh Labour Government is purely using this drastic measure in order to take advantage of the fact that it has a temporary majority in the National Assembly. This majority should not be used as an excuse to ram through any piece of legislation it likes without any proper democratic scrutiny. It is wrong for the Welsh Labour Government to be using an Emergency Bill to bypass the important Committee stage.

"An Emergency Bill has never been used in the National Assembly. It exists as a measure so it can be used in response to crises, court rulings or emergencies. The extreme weather over the winter that many farmers faced could certainly be classified as an emergency. This Bill however, is not an emergency, as the UK Government first suggested that the Agricultural Wages Board would be abolished back in 2010 and we have spent months debating its future in the National Assembly. Furthermore, the Welsh Government consultation on the future of the Agricultural Wages Board in Wales is still ongoing with the final date for submissions being tomorrow. Today's announcement undermines this process.

"I will be meeting with David Heath MP, Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on Monday where we will be discussing this issue."

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