"The Nineteenth century saw a great Springtime of Nations as the revolutions of 1848 saw new countries created the length and breadth of Europe. In our world today we are now seeing our own Spring Awakening with people and cultures that have long been dormant and subdued asserting their right to exist, their right to dream." Adam Price MP
A REFERENDUM on the Assembly’s powers should be held by the end of March next year, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said today.
She has written to First Minister Carwyn Jones formally turning down the Assembly’s request for a poll to be held in the autumn this year. She said not enough work had been done by the previous Labour government to allow for a poll this year.
A vote in parliament on the referendum date will take place "as soon as possible", following a consultation by the Electoral Commission on the wording of the question, she said.
In her letter to Mr Jones, Ms Gillan said: "Both you and I and the Deputy First Minister have discussed a possible timetable for the referendum, taking account of all the stages that need to be gone through to prepare for it.
"In the light of our discussion, we have agreed that we should aim for a referendum to be held before the end of the first quarter of 2011."
She added: "The UK coalition Government remains committed to progressing the referendum, and to laying the draft referendum Order as soon as possible, following receipt of the Electoral Commission’s report on the question."
The poll – which would offer the Assembly similar powers to the Scottish Parliament in already-devolved areas – has been the subjected of a political row since last month’s General Election.
Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas put forward a third option at the weekend – a referendum in autumn 2011. This would break a promise in teh Labour-Plaid Cymru Assembly coalition deal, which said the vote should take place before the next devolved elections in May next year.