Thank you for writing to me concerning the Welsh Government’s proposals for gender quotas at future Senedd elections.
While I fully support the need to promote diversity in the Welsh Parliament, I firmly oppose the imposition of quotas for election candidates in Wales. The Welsh Conservatives believe that that candidates should be selected and elected on merit, regardless of their gender or any other protected characteristic.
In addition to the above, I share the UK Government’s concerns about the potential detrimental impact there could be on women’s rights in Wales if candidates are able to self-identify as women, as seems to be the case in the Welsh Government’s proposals.
It is also wrong that Labour and Plaid Cymru have adopted a policy which seeks to promote one aspect of diversity in the Senedd while ignoring others, such as, disability, race, religion and age.
The Welsh Government is wasting time, money and energy trying to push gender quota legislation through the Senedd when it is clear that it does not currently have the legal competence to legislate to introduce gender quotas due to equalities being a reserved matter for which the UK Parliament alone is responsible.
Instead of wasting precious resources on gender quota legislation, Labour Ministers should be getting to grips with the problems in the Welsh NHS and our underperforming schools and economy.
Rest assured that my Welsh Conservative colleagues and I will oppose Labour and Plaid’s gender quota plans.