Why I

February 26, 1999

I am standing for election to the Welsh Assembly even though I campaigned against devolution for Wales

The facts have changed. I campaigned against the Welsh Assembly being set up but now it is going to be a feature of life I want to make sure it works.

I can see that the Assembly might do some useful things - but I still have concerns. It could be used to undermine the union of the United Kingdom, it could be a forum for the nationalists to demand greater powers and it could waste money on administration.

I am standing for election to make sure those things do not happen.

The danger of creeping nationalism and the costs still worry me. But as a democrat I accept the result of the referendum. So now we have got to try to make the Assembly work within the parameters of the referendum result.

Already there are people who are calling for the Assembly to have additional tax-raising and legislative powers. The danger of creeping nationalism remains.

I always made clear throughout the referendum campaign that I would accept the result. Liberals do not believe in the electoral system we have at the moment but they participate in it. I understand that stance.

I will work within the decision to try to help the Assembly provide better services in Wales - for health, for education, for transport ...

In Brecon and Radnorshire most people voted "No" in the referendum. I have had very few people say to me "you were against it, so why are you standing?" I think I have been able to explain.

After all, if everybody who did not believe in the Assembly did not stand,it would be an extremely dangerous body. It is important that those people who had doubts now participate in democratic elections to try to influence the way it works. People cannot just stand by and say "this doesn't affect me because I didn't want it".

* Interview by Helen Hague

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