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The Welsh Assembly is dead – long live ‘Senedd Cymru-Welsh Parliament’


By Siân Jones, Associate Partner

The National Assembly for Wales is dead and buried. On 6 May, exactly a year before the next set of Welsh elections, its name officially became ‘Senedd Cymru-Welsh Parliament’. The throes of a global pandemic are not the best circumstances for making such an announcement, but it was unavoidable: the date had been set down in legislation at the beginning of the year, months before coronavirus took hold. Senedd Members should now be addressed as ‘MS’ (Member of the Senedd) in English, or AS (Aelod o’r Senedd) in Welsh.   

The choice of new name had been the subject of considerable debate. The Senedd’s Welsh-speaking Presiding Officer, Elin Jones, favoured the Welsh name of Senedd, backed by the Welsh Language Society and others. However, a majority of AMs opted for a bilingual name. The resulting moniker is a compromise, albeit a rather long-winded one.  That said, the former Assembly’s new website address - – would already suggest that Elin Jones’ preferences have won the day. We can expect ‘Senedd’ to be the term most widely used in day-to-day parlance. 

The change of name is intended to be a reflection of the greater law-making and tax-raising powers that the Senedd has gained since the establishment of the Assembly in 1999.  It does not, in itself, herald the transfer of any new powers from Westminster - Wales already operates on a ‘reserved powers’ model. Supporters of devolution will hope that the new name will gain the Senedd parity of esteem with the Scottish Parliament, as well as provide more clarity in differentiating Wales’ legislative body (the Senedd) from the Executive (the Welsh Government). 

For most people in Wales, these changes will pass largely unnoticed. Although any celebrations to mark the new name will be muted due to the pandemic, it’s likely that there will be a push to boost awareness of the rebranded institution once things return to normal. This is the first time a Parliament of Wales has met since the fifteenth century, and many will regard this week’s announcement as a real historic moment.