Trainee solicitor, Catherine Golledge, looks at the recent decision of the Welsh Assembly to change it's name.
The National Assembly of Wales is set to change its name to the Welsh Parliament / Senedd Cymru following an Assembly consultation.
In July last year, Assembly Members unanimously agreed that the National Assembly for Wales should be renamed to ‘reflect its constitutional status as a national parliament.’ Following this, the Assembly consulted with the public for several months, starting in December last year.
Coming out of this, 61% of the responses received agreed that the Assembly should change its name, with the Welsh Parliament as the favoured option.
Another option was Senedd, which was heavily favoured by the Welsh language campaign group, with Heledd Gwyndaf, the chair, stating that this would be ‘the opportunity to normalise the use of Welsh’.
The power to change the name was granted under the Wales Act 2017. However, a law will need to be passed to effect the change, which is expected to be done before the next election.
Presiding Officer Elin Jones says that the new name will “reflect directly the will of the people of Wales in giving [the Assembly] the mandate to have the powers to create legislation on their behalf”.
It is hoped that the change of name will provide greater clarity on the role and function of the Assembly.
Andrew RT Davies, Welsh conservative leader has welcomed this much needed change, saying “the assembly has cleared evolved into a parliament, and it’s only right that this is now reflected in its name”.
However, not all are fully in favour of the change. UKIP group leader, Neil Hamilton has expressed his views, with cost at the heart of his concerns. “While the Welsh Assembly has changed as a result of tax devolution, UKIP Wales is concerned about the potential costs of a symbolic name change”. It is suggested that the costs could range from £40,000 to £150,000. He did clarify that the party was not against the proposals themselves, it is the cost implications of doing so which is concerning.
But for now, it will continue to be referred to as the National Assembly of Wales to avoid confusion and to ensure that no unnecessary costs are incurred.
The National Assembly for Wales is set to be renamed the Welsh Parliament after it was backed in a consultation. Sixty-one percent of nearly 3,000 responses agreed to a change of name, with nearly three-quarters backing Welsh Parliament as the best option. A law to change the name is expected to pass before the 2021 election. Presiding Officer Elin Jones hoped people would "more fully understand the powers of the assembly and the role it plays in their lives". But Neil Hamilton, UKIP AM, expressed concerns over potential costs. The assembly was given the power to rename itself under the 2017 Wales Act. Assembly members had unanimously backed the idea last July after which it was put out to public consultation.