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Opposition forces withdrawal of Wales reorganisation vote

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The Welsh Government has been forced to withdraw the final vote on a bill to reorganise the country’s 22 councils after a rebellion by opposition parties.

A vote was due today on the Local Government (Wales) Bill, which would have allowed for preparatory work on forcible mergers, and also for any approved voluntary mergers to take place ahead of a general reorganisation.

Government plans originally sought to reorganise to between 10 and 12 councils, but public services minister Leighton Andrews (pictured) later issued a revised proposal for just eight or nine.

Today’s vote was withdrawn after Plaid Cymru, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats all said they would oppose it, leaving Labour one vote short of a majority.

Liberal Democrat shadow local government minister Peter Black said: “I can’t help but think that if Labour’s minister hadn’t acted so arrogantly on this from the beginning, he wouldn’t have been left with no-one willing to work with him.”

The Welsh Labour party declined to comment. A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We have decided not to move [the Bill] today, as we want to allow more time for cross-party talks on the issue. There are no immediate time pressures that require us to vote on the Bill this week.

“In taking forward all legislation during this assembly term we have tried, wherever possible, to work with other parties and accommodate other views. That is the case again here, and we look forward to bringing forward the motion in due course.”



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