YNYS Môn MP Albert Owen is calling for the Welsh Assembly to be brought closer to the people of North Wales.
In a statement to mark the 20th anniversary of the referendum to set up the National Assembly for Wales, Mr Owen requested that it be “less Cardiff-centric” with more emphasis on the rest of Wales, and particularly North Wales.
The Labour MP said: “I am a pro-devolution MP who campaigned in 1997 and indeed 1979 for the setting up of a National Assembly for Wales. I was active in the 1997 Yes campaign and I do feel the Assembly has done a lot of positive things since it’s inception some 18 years ago.
“It is a young institution and is developing. I also supported more powers in the 2011 referendum, however, if I’m honest the North-South Gap highlighted in 1997 still exists and more has to be done. On Ynys Môn, the result in 1997 was close, very close - 50.9 per cent to 49.1 per cent, a majority of just over 500.
”Turnout was low, and many opponents sighted the fact that it would be a Cardiff and South Wales Assembly and not for the North. Many still say to me, Cardiff and South Wales get everything and they feel the Assembly is a long way away and that some North West Wales AM’s are too – “Cardiff Centric” – putting nation building first.
“I did like the original Regional Assemblies when North Wales AM’s met across North Wales – there was a connection. Personally I think the Assembly should occasionally meet in the North.
“I believe in de-centralisation and I said in 1997, to me devolution was not simply about transfer of powers from Westminster down the M4 to Cardiff Bay – real democracy and devolution is about bringing politics closer to the people from Cardiff Bay to Cemaes Bay, Colwyn Bay and even Cardigan Bay.”
“I do understand the first 10 years was about building the institution from a standing start and constitutional issues dominated. But the perception of the North losing out should be addressed, by either full sessions or committee sessions in the North or even a full department in the North.”