Wales politics

The Lib Dem manifesto: Nick Clegg takes the Silk road

Admit it. Your first thought on waking this morning may not have been: "I wonder what Nick Clegg plans to do with the Silk commission's second report."

Just in case it was, the Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister has been keen to assure an expectant nation that the party's manifesto for next year's general election will include a commitment to implementing that report in full.

What does that mean for those of you who - shamefully - have yet to commit to memory that report?

It means policing powers would transfer from Westminster to Cardiff Bay, which would also take responsibility for larger energy projects than it currently decides. There would also be a move to the "reserved powers" model so it would be assumed powers are devolved unless otherwise specified.

Mr Clegg said: "I think we should just do Silk 2. I think I'm the first party leader to say 'look let's get on and do it'.

"I think Silk 2 set out a really clear set of proposals for further devolution to Wales set out by all the parties including the Conservative and Labour parties in Cardiff.

"As you know it includes those very important issues around how energy is regulated or the transmission of energy, policing and I think we should just get on with it so what you will find in our manifesto is a commitment to implement Silk 2 in full."

So there we have it - all clear and understood. Except that report also suggests the National Assembly for Wales doesn't have enough members: "We have concluded that there should be more Members of the National Assembly.

"We do not ourselves propose a definite figure, though it seems to us that increasing the National Assembly to 80 would balance enhanced scrutiny capacity with restraint in public spending.

So no definite figure, but a pretty big hint. But how many more £53k-a-year AMs would Nick Clegg like to see? You'll know when I know.

One tip, though. "Silk 2" does sound rather like a movie sequel. Don't make the mistake I did and put the phrase in a popular search engine as you may be surprised by the results. You have been warned.