English votes for English laws demands separate Welsh legal system
Plaid Cymru Parliamentary Leader, Elfyn Llwyd MP, has today (Tuesday) argued that the UK Government’s announcement on English Votes for English Laws reinforces the case for a separate Welsh legal jurisdiction and signals an opportunity to call time on the "old and outdated" 'England and Wales' unit.
Mr Llwyd, whose party Plaid Cymru has long advocated the devolution of the criminal justice system to Wales and the creation of a separate Welsh legal jurisdiction, said that if MPs from England are to be granted a veto over some votes, then the constitutional boundaries between England and Wales must be far clearer.
This would ensure greater clarity as to what is 'England only and what isn't and would end the anomaly of Wales being the only country in the world with a legislature but no jurisdiction of its own.
Speaking in London, Mr Llwyd said:
"In principle, Plaid Cymru is supportive of English Votes for English Laws, but these reforms must not come about in isolation.
"We have long argued for all nations of the UK to be treated on the basis of equality - both in terms of funding and powers.
"If EVEL goes ahead it must go hand in hand with home rule all round and the Barnett formula must be replaced in order to address the chronic underfunding of Wales.
"The blurred constitutional boundaries between England and Wales must also be more clearly delineated.
"The common sense approach to addressing this issue is the establishment of a separate Welsh legal jurisdiction - something which Plaid Cymru has advocated for many years.
"There is a growing legal body in Wales and increasing support among professionals for a Welsh jurisdiction. It is a complete anomaly that we have a full law-making institution yet lack the proper infrastructure for it to function as effectively as possible.
"As things stand, English Votes for English Laws will bring further complexity to Westminster's already multi-tiered system.
"Wales' democracy is maturing with the steady transfer of more powers from Westminster. It is high time the old and outdated 'England and Wales' unit was swept away and for our nation to be handed the proper tools to pass robust legislation and administer justice in a manner which serves the best interests of the Welsh people."