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Landmark proposals to make the Senedd more modern and effective have today (8 May) been agreed by the Welsh Parliament.

First published:
8 May 2024
Last updated:

Members of the Senedd voted to pass the Senedd Cymru (Members and Elections) Bill in the week that marks 25 years of devolution in Wales.

The Bill, which forms part of Welsh Government’s Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, aims to create a modern Senedd, better able to represent people in Wales, with increased capacity to scrutinise, make laws, and hold government to account.

Following Royal Assent, the legislation will mean that from the 2026 Senedd election:

  • There will be 96 Members of the Senedd, who will all be elected using a proportional closed list system, with all candidates named on ballot papers.
  • All candidates to and Members of the Senedd will need to be resident in Wales.
  • Senedd elections will be held every four years (from 2026 onwards).

There are also commitments to review the changes following the 2026 election, and to consider the practical and legislative implications of job-sharing offices related to the Senedd.

Counsel General, Mick Antoniw, 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.

Sian Gwenllian, MS, Lead Designated Member for Plaid Cymru on the Co-operation Agreement said: 

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

As we mark 25 years 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.