Plaid Cymru has dropped its opposition to sending members to the House of Lords, meaning that members of the Welsh party will be sitting in the upper house of the UK Parliament within the next months.
Plaid Cymru has dropped its historic opposition to sending members to the House of Lords, meaning that members of the Welsh Party will be sitting in the upper house of the UK Parliament within the next months.
The party’s decision to send representatives to the Lords was voted by a large margin last November 2007 at the National Council meeting in Aberystwyth.
For decades, Plaid Cymru refused to nominate its own peers in protest at the "anti-democratic nature" of the House of Lords and called for a fully elected upper house. Now the party believes that Welsh nationalist peers need to make their voice heard in debates affecting Wales.
Plaid Cymru's parliamentary group leader in Westminster, Mr Elfyn Llwyd, had been calling on his party to drop its opposition to the House of Lords. "Ten years ago we debated this and I was certainly against the idea. But I've been working in Westminster for the last 13 to 14 years and I've realised that we are not able to represent our country as well as we might without somebody in the second chamber", he said.
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and has a key role in approving the transfer of powers from London to Cardiff. While the Welsh Assembly has powers to make its own laws in devolved areas, the House of Lords has the power to veto law-making proposals put forward by the National Assembly.
Mr Elfyn Llwyd argued that it was in Plaid’s interests to be represented in the Lords to ensure that Welsh legislation was not blocked at Westminster.
"The main reason why it is so important for Plaid to send peers to the House of Lords is to avoid legislative proposals from Cardiff Bay being vetoed.”
"We would like a fully democratic, fully elected chamber, but I don't think there is a great deal of impetus for that to happen just now and I don't think we can afford to wait for it to happen", he added.
Former Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Wigley believed that his party should be able to nominate at least three new peers and proposed an informal "coalition team" of Welsh Labour and Plaid peers to ensure the House of Lords does not block legislative proposals from Cardiff.