The History of Government of Wales Act 1998
The Government of Wales Act 1998 is a key piece of legislation that laid the foundation for the establishment of the devolved government in Wales. Here’s a detailed overview of the history and key provisions of the Government of Wales Act 1998:
Background and Devolution Referendum (1997): The momentum for devolution in Wales gained traction in the late 20th century. Following the election of the Labour Party under Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997, the government proposed devolution referendums in both Scotland and Wales. The referendum in Wales took place on September 18, 1997.
Devolution Referendum Result: The majority of Welsh voters supported the creation of a devolved legislature. Over 50% voted in favor, allowing the government to move forward with plans for devolution.
Government of Wales Act 1998 Enacted: Building on the results of the referendum, the UK Parliament passed the Government of Wales Act 1998. The act received Royal Assent on July 31, 1998, and came into force in stages. Its primary purpose was to establish the legal framework for devolution in Wales.
Creation of the National Assembly for Wales: The Government of Wales Act 1998 created the National Assembly for Wales, a devolved legislature with the power to make decisions on certain policy areas. The Assembly was initially given limited powers, and its main role was to scrutinize the work of the executive, known as the Welsh Office at the time.
Limited Legislative Powers: The original powers of the National Assembly were limited, and it did not have the authority to make primary legislation. Instead, it had the power to consider secondary legislation and hold the executive to account.
First Assembly Elections (1999): The first elections to the National Assembly for Wales took place on May 6, 1999. Alun Michael became the First Secretary of Wales, later renamed the First Minister, marking the beginning of the devolved government in Wales.
Subsequent Amendments and Developments: The Government of Wales Act 1998 was subsequently amended by the Government of Wales Act 2006, which conferred additional legislative powers on the National Assembly. The Wales Act 2014 and the Wales Act 2017 further clarified and extended devolved powers.
The Government of Wales Act 1998 represents a crucial milestone in the constitutional history of Wales, paving the way for the establishment of a devolved government and the subsequent evolution of legislative powers in the country. The act has undergone amendments to strengthen the devolution process over the years. For the most current information on the legal framework for devolution in Wales, please refer to recent sources or official government websites.
The Government of Wales Act 2006 is a significant piece of legislation that furthered the devolution process in Wales by expanding the legislative powers of the National Assembly for Wales. Here’s a detailed overview of the history and key provisions of the Government of Wales Act 2006:
Background and Context: The devolution process in Wales had evolved since the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales in 1999 under the Government of Wales Act 1998. The need for clarification and expansion of devolved powers led to the introduction of the Government of Wales Bill in 2005.
Introduction of the Government of Wales Bill (2005): The Government of Wales Bill, which later became the Government of Wales Act 2006, was introduced to the UK Parliament in November 2005. The bill aimed to build on the devolution framework established in 1998 and address some of the limitations of the original legislation.
Royal Assent and Enactment: The Government of Wales Act 2006 received Royal Assent on July 25, 2006, and it came into force in stages. The act amended the 1998 Act and introduced a new settlement for devolution in Wales.
Increased Legislative Powers: One of the key features of the 2006 Act was the expansion of legislative powers for the National Assembly for Wales. The act introduced a new form of legislative competence known as “Assembly Measures.” These measures allowed the Assembly to make laws in certain policy areas without the need for approval from the UK Parliament.
Assembly Measures and Legislative Competence Orders (LCOs): The Act established a process for the creation of Assembly Measures, which were a form of primary legislation for Wales. Additionally, the Act introduced Legislative Competence Orders (LCOs), a mechanism by which the Assembly could acquire legislative powers in specific policy areas with the approval of the UK Parliament.
Enhanced Powers in Policy Areas: The 2006 Act expanded the list of devolved policy areas, giving the National Assembly more authority in fields such as health, education, and local government.
Renaming of Executive Positions: The Act also changed the titles of key executive positions. The head of the Welsh Government, previously known as the First Secretary, was renamed the First Minister, and the other ministers became known as Welsh Ministers.
Subsequent Amendments and Developments: The Government of Wales Act 2006 was not the final piece of legislation related to devolution in Wales. Subsequent acts, such as the Wales Act 2014 and the Wales Act 2017, continued to refine and extend devolved powers.
The Government of Wales Act 2006 played a crucial role in enhancing the legislative powers of the National Assembly for Wales and shaping the constitutional framework for devolution in Wales. It represented a significant step in the ongoing evolution of devolution in the United Kingdom. For the most current information on devolution in Wales, please refer to recent sources or official government websites.
Wales does not have its own Prime Minister separate from the United Kingdom. The head of the UK government is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, responsible for governing the entire country, which includes Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
The head of the devolved government in Wales is the First Minister. Here is a list of the individuals who have served as the First Minister of Wales since the establishment of the devolved government:
Alun Michael (1999 until 2000): Alun Michael was the first person to hold the position of First Secretary (later renamed First Minister) when the National Assembly for Wales was established in 1999.
Rhodri Morgan (2000 until 2009): Rhodri Morgan succeeded Alun Michael and served as First Minister for almost a decade until he stepped down in 2009.
Carwyn Jones (2009 until 2018): Carwyn Jones became the third First Minister of Wales, succeeding Rhodri Morgan. He served until December 2018.
Mark Drakeford (2018 until present): Mark Drakeford succeeded Carwyn Jones and became the current First Minister of Wales. He assumed office in December 2018.
Please note that political positions and officeholders can change, and there may have been developments or changes in leadership since my last update. It’s advisable to check the latest sources for the most up-to-date information on the First Minister of Wales and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.