Convention 'Must Be Able to Explore Controversial Ideas'

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Byline: By David Williamson Western Mail

The body chaired by former UN ambassador Sir Emyr Jones Parry, which will pave the way to a referendum on a Welsh Parliament, should be given the freedom to explore controversial questions, it was declared yesterday.

Constitutional experts and opposition politicians called on Labour and Plaid Cymru to set broad terms for the All-Wales Convention. It has not been decided whether Sir Emyr will be able to investigate an increase in the number of representatives or a change in the way politicians are elected.

But Conservative leader Nick Bourne said it was essential that the Convention looked at the resources the new institution would need.

He said, "It's important they set broad terms of reference, but also important they include people of all shades of opinion."

Professor Laura McAllister of the University of Liverpool Management School sat on Lord Ivor Richard's commission which recommended an increase in the number of AMs to 80.

She said she could "understand the logic" of avoiding divisive controversy, but said a serious debate about the composition of the election could only be postponed, not avoided.

She said, "People have to recognise the model we have in terms of its internal structures and size is not fit for purpose if law-making is its purpose. …