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CONDUCT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WALES AND THE NEED FOR A REVIEW OF THE RESULT OF THE WELSH REFERENDUM

EDM (Early Day Motion) 653A1: tabled on 19 January 1998

Tabled in the 1997-98 session.

This motion has been signed by 15 Members. It is an amendment to an existing motion.

As this motion is using historical data, we may not have the record of the original ordering, in which case signatories are listed alphabetically.

This is an amendment to an existing motion

This motion was originally tabled by Mr Owen Paterson on 15 January 1998. This is amendment number 1.

View details of the original motion

Suggested amendment

leave out from 'House' to end and add 'congratulates the people of Wales in having the good sense, confidence and judgement to endorse the Government's proposals for devolution in the 18th September referendum; notes that the Referendum was conducted fairly and properly, and in every detail in accordance with the procedures laid down in Parliament; expresses its gratitude to Professor Eric Sunderland and the 22 counting officers for conducting the ballots scrupulously fairly and in exercising their impartial judgement; notes that at each and every one of the 22 counts, observers from the 'No' campaign and the Conservative Party specifically expressed their satisfaction with the way the counts had been conducted; acknowledges that there was no political influence from Ministers over the conduct of the count and would express its concern should such influence be attempted; recognises that the Secretary of State for Wales has answered satisfactorily and in detail every single question which has been asked about the Referendum count; deplores the unsubstantiated campaign of smears against the people of Wales currently being conducted by elements of the Conservative Party; and urges Conservative honourable Members to desist from irrelevant time-wasting distractions and join with all those wishing to see a healthier democracy in Wales in playing a constructive role during the passage of the Governement of Wales Bill.'.

Original motion text

That this House notes with grave concern the admission by the Secretary of State for Wales that last minute instructions issued to returning officers in the Welsh Assembly Referendum on 18 September failed to reach some constituencies; notes further the admission by Mr Tony Wilkins, the Chairman of the County Borough Labour Party in the Secretary of State's constituency, that 'it was evident for all to see that chaos ruled the night and no one was in control'; regrets the denial of responsibility by the Secretary of State to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee on 13 January 1998 for the proper conduct of the count; recalls that the Chief Counting Officer told the returning and counting officers on 2 September that if there was a close run result, this would be a matter for Ministers; notes that the result of the first count only gave a majority of 168 votes per constituency; accordingly calls on the Secretary of State to acknowledge that no momentous constitutional change should ever proceed on the basis of a ballot whose validity has been undermined by serious doubts; and therefore calls for an independent review of procedures adopted and, if necessary, a recount conducted by an independent authority, as the Secretary of State has a huge personal vested interest in the result and cannot be considered an impartial arbiter.