The Welsh Parliament

The governance of Wales has, in recent decades, been subject to three referendum outcomes and several parliamentary Acts. The result was the formation of the Welsh Parliament, or Senedd Cymru in Welsh, which was known as the Welsh Assembly until 2020. Members were previously called AMs (Assembly Members) but are now MSs (Members of Senedd).

In 1979, a referendum in Wales emphatically rejected the idea of a separate Welsh government. In 1997, however, a similar referendum gave 50.3% in favour and so the National Assembly for Wales was established in 1999, with its headquarters in Cardiff. The third referendum, in 2011, voted for increased law-making powers.

The Welsh Parliament has policy-making and legislative powers in many different aspects of Welsh society and culture, ranging from education to tourism. These are called ‘devolved powers’. The UK Government still has ‘reserved powers’, which include defence, foreign policy and nuclear energy. However, the Parliament’s powers may expand in future, in line with those of the Scottish and Northern Irish governmental bodies.

(Image: Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament at / CC BY 2.0)

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