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Hain defends devolution settlement

30 October 2009

Peter Hain

The University hosted the Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt Hon Peter Hain, last night for a speech which highlighted the benefits of devolution.

The Secretary of State’s lecture, "Good News: More Powers for Wales", was hosted by the Wales Governance Centre.

Mr Hain was introduced by Professor Gillian Douglas, Head of the School of Law, which, along with the School of European Studies, jointly sponsors the Wales Governance Centre.

In his introductory remarks, Mr Hain said he was pleased to see Professor Derek Jones, the University’s Director of Business and Strategic Partnerships, who used to work with the Secretary of State at the Welsh Office.

Mr Hain said he hoped eventually to see a Welsh Assembly with law-making powers but that the time was not right for a referendum on the subject.

He said: "I shall be right there for the ‘yes’ campaign when that day arrives. But that is not today, nor will it be tomorrow, nor, in my view, event next year or the year after that."

Meanwhile, Mr Hain argued, the current system of Legislative Competence Orders introduced by the 2006 Governance of Wales Act was working well.

He claimed: "The changes brought about by this legislation are improving the delivery and quality of public services in Wales and could not have been made in Wales under the old system."

Mr Hain then took part in a lively discussion with members of the audience and also found time to give interviews to student journalists from the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.

Director of the Wales Governance Centre, Dr Richard Wyn Jones, said: "We were delighted to welcome Mr Hain to the University. Given his central role in delivering devolution in 1997 and in the genesis of the 2006 Government of Wales Act, his thoughts on the future of devolution are always of the utmost importance. He gave a robust and serious speech, which was listened to with great attention by a large audience."

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