The plans to progress the number of Senedd Members, and change the way Members are elected, are currently progressing through the Senedd, writes Russell George MS.

 I am certainly not in favour of this legislation, and I want to set out why.

The Welsh Government introduced its Bill earlier this year which the Senedd is currently scrutinising, which if passed, will increase the size of the Senedd from 60 to 96 Members, allow for an increase in the number of Welsh Government Ministers, and change the Senedd’s electoral system so no longer would just one member represent a constituency, but several Senedd Members would represent a larger constituencies.

There is also a second part of the Welsh Government’s proposals, which seeks to introduce gender quotas, and would require political parties to ensure at least half of their candidates are women.

Firstly, There is no public mandate for either a larger Senedd or for the proposed changes to the voting system, so none of these proposals should be implemented in my view, and certainly not without the public having their say in a referendum.


Under the Welsh Labour Government’s proposals, with the support of Plaid Cymru, voters will not be able to vote for an individual candidate. Instead, in 16 regions of six members, parties will put forward slates of candidates, but voters will simply vote for a party, not a person. In my view, the link between constituent and the Senedd member will be lost. Voters understand and expect to have a close relationship with their constituency member and to be able to hold them accountable if not.

My concern is that future Senedd members, if this legislation is agreed, will owe their position not to a personal relationship with voters, but instead to their party bosses. This, I believe, is the wrong and bad for democracy.

All this will cost £120 million of taxpayers’ money.

Not once have I knocked on a door and spoken to a resident that thinks the solution to Wales’ problems is to spend countless millions in perpetuity on more politicians, and it’s my view that we do not need more politicians, what we really need is more doctors, dentists and teachers.

Wales already has the powers it needs to deliver a better economy, better schools, and an improved NHS, yet, over the past 25 years. The people of Wales would rightly expect the Labour Government to be addressing these issues, not putting time, energy, and resources into what I think is an unnecessary vanity project.

Both other parties voted down Welsh Conservative amendments calling for a referendum on the proposals.

The people of Wales deserve to have their say and I and my Welsh Conservative colleagues will continue to resist this legislation that will, in my view, undermine our democracy.