Commons should debate use of Welsh in Grand Committee sittings in Westminster
20 December 2016
The Procedure Committee publishes a report on the use of the Welsh language in the Welsh Grand Committee in Westminster. It considered the matter following a request from Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones.
Currently the Welsh language may be used in all select committee and Grand Committee proceedings in Wales, under arrangements first made in 1996. Witnesses may also speak Welsh when giving evidence to select committees at Westminster.
The Committee recognises the unique status of Welsh as a language with statutory protection for its use in Wales, and makes no criticism of the existing arrangements for the use of Welsh. While the Committee strongly maintains the principle that the language of the House of Commons is English, it finds that there is no technical bar to making arrangements for the use of Welsh in Grand Committee sittings at Westminster, and that the likely additional costs of arranging for the use of Welsh at a Grand Committee sitting are lower than the costs of holding a Committee sitting in Wales.
The Committee recommends that:
- the House should decide on whether to extend the 1996 arrangement to the use of Welsh at Westminster sittings of the Welsh Grand Committee; and
- the matter could be decided on a motion brought forward in time allocated by the Backbench Business Committee.
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