Group Says 'Yes' Vote's No Guarantee of Power

Article excerpt

A 'YES' vote in a new devolution referendum would leave the Assembly with fewer powers than the Scottish Parliament and even cause legal wrangling over its remit, an influential pressure group said last night.

Even if the Assembly was allowed to create its own legislation without recourse to Westminster - a move that, by law, requires a referendum - it would still not have powers over issues such as policing and justice, which are devolved in Scotland.

The Tomorrow's Wales organisation, founded by Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan, says in a briefing paper the limits on a future Assembly's powers is not well understood. The paper warns of possible future legal challenges if a stronger Assembly tries to pass laws outside its powers.

"We have no idea how the courts will approach decisions about whether legislation falls within devolved legislative powers or outside them," the paper notes.

"The courts have never had to consider a case where governments challenged each other about their legislative powers, and the differences between the rules for Scotland and Wales mean even Scottish precedents would give little clear assistance for Wales. …