Gareth Bennett: “A political scam to hoodwink the Welsh public into accepting more AMs by stealth”

Caroline Jones: “The reason for those failures is not because we don’t have enough politicians. It’s because we have a one-party state, an elected dictatorship—a Labour Government in power for too long, devoid of ambition, vision and ideas. Another 20 or 30 AMs is not going to change that.”

Last night at a plenary debate titled ‘Assembly Electoral Reform’, UKIP Wales made it clear that it will oppose Assembly Member expansion. It also became clear that UKIP Wales is the only party in the Assembly that will be opposing it.

Gareth Bennett, AM for South Wales Central led the debate, calling out the expansion process as a political scam: “So, it has been a bit of a circular argument. ‘Give us more powers’, the AMs screech. Westminster, after a bit of a battle, duly obliges. Five minutes later, the AMs screech, ‘Give us more Members.’ So, the Assembly asks for more powers, gets them, and then tells the public they don’t have enough people to deal with the new powers they themselves called for. This is basically a political scam to hoodwink the Welsh public into accepting more AMs by stealth. Well, you’re not going to get your 30 more Members, not unless we have a referendum on it first.”

Caroline Jones AM South Wales West also contributed: “What is the purpose of devolution? It certainly wasn’t to create another layer of bureaucracy. People didn’t vote in two referendums for an institution that would endlessly debate constitutional issues or decide whether we have a Welsh legal system or not. The public didn’t care about these issues. They care about whether they are going to have jobs at the end of the year, whether their children are getting a good education, whether the NHS will be there for their families when they need it. That is why I became an Assembly “Member. Over the last two decades, our economy has deteriorated, our schools are failing and our NHS has got worse, not better.

“The reason for those failures is not because we don’t have enough politicians. It’s because we have a one-party state, an elected dictatorship—a Labour Government in power for too long, devoid of ambition, vision and ideas. Another 20 or 30 AMs is not going to change that. As long as we have a Government that avoids scrutiny when it can get away with it, another 50 politicians won’t change that. And until we start actually improving people’s lives, no matter how overworked we are, we cannot make the argument for more politicians.”

UKIP Wales opposes any expansion of the Assembly, and will call for a referendum on the question, if expansion is put on the table. Labour and Plaid support it and now the Tories have ‘gone native’ on this issue. The people of Wales must be consulted and UKIP Wales will fight to halt any growth of the Cardiff Bay political establishment.

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