Senedd National Assembly Building in Cardiff

Landmark vote for Welsh devolution

In a landmark vote for the country, the Welsh Government has agreed proposals to modernise the Senedd and make it more effective.

As the nation marks the 25th anniversary of the devolution of Wales - and the creation of the Senedd – members have voted to pass the Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill that will work to better represent the people of Wales and give members more scope to scrutinise and hold the government to account. The bill also forms part of the government’s co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru.

Following the granting of Royal Assent, the legislation will come into effect from the Senedd election in 2026, and will mean:

  • The Senedd will increase to 96 members, with all being elected using a proportional closed list system and all candidates being named on ballot papers
  • All candidates and members of the Senedd will need to reside in Wales
  • Senedd elections will be held every four ears, starting in 2026.
Welsh government bill quote

Mick Antoniw, Counsel General, said:

“In a month when we mark 25 years of devolution in Wales, the passing of this Bill is a significant milestone for Welsh democracy.

“Over the last quarter-century the Senedd’s responsibilities have grown, including law-making and tax-varying powers, but its capacity has not.

“Wales is the most under-represented country in the UK – the Senedd has the least members of any devolved Parliament in the country, and our UK parliamentary seats are being reduced.

“Today, members of the Senedd have voted to correct that under-representation and strengthen our democracy. This vote will ensure our Senedd has greater capacity to scrutinise laws, spending plans, and hold the Welsh Government to account.”

Alongside the measures to improve the work of the Senedd, the Welsh Government has committed to reviewing the changes after the Senedd election in 2026, with these involving considerations of the practical and legislative implications of job-sharing offices.

Lead Designated Member for Plaid Cymru, Sian Gwenllian MS, also commented:

“Today represented another historic step forward that strengthens our democracy and creates a stronger, more representative and more effective Senedd.

“As we mark 25 since the first Senedd election, the next elections to our national parliament in 2026 will be under a new, more proportional system where members can better hold the Welsh Government to account and better scrutinise the decisions that impact us all.

“As the powers and responsibilities of the Senedd have grown, we have reached the point where our democracy needs to mature further so we can meet our ambitions for Wales. Wales should not be short changed democratically.”


Image credit: iStock


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