The Welsh Assembly will be formally known as Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament after a last minute amendment was accepted by the Welsh Government.
Despite agreeing in principle to change the name of the Welsh Assembly to the Senedd in July, former First Minister Carwyn Jones tabled an amendment this week to formally support a bilingual name. The outgoing AM for Bridgend argued it was a necessary, temporary move in order to guarantee Welsh citizens know what the institution does. The amendment is believed to have been accepted by the Welsh Government even though First Minister Mark Drakeford is personally thought to prefer the monolingustic Welsh option. nation.cymru is reporting that Labour AMs will be given a free vote on the matter.
It is thought that the amendment will also have the support of the Welsh Conservatives who are traditionally opposed to a singular Welsh name. Former Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies told the BBC that “this shouldn’t be a controversial choice, this is ultimately, respecting the legislation that’s in place to protect both the Welsh language and the English language. ”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Plaid Cymru have been quick to criticise the planned amendment with Deputy Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth asking AMs “How incapable do you think the people of Wales are to deal with and embrace the word ‘Senedd’?”.
Wiliam Rees, Plaid’s Assembly candidate for Cardiff Central told Politics Now “I’m glad that the Welsh Assembly is now a Welsh Parliament, however I think a trick has been missed in not having the Welsh only name “Senedd Cymru”.
“That would show a national pride in our language and that it belongs to us all. A bilingual name suggests that the Welsh language belongs only to Welsh-speakers and that an English-language alternative is needed, when nothing could be further from the truth. “
The Presiding Officer of the Senedd, Elin Jones, is also supportive of a Welsh-only name. It is also likely that the Brexit Party and UKIP AMs will abstain on the motion; with UKIP’s policy to abolish the Welsh Assembly likely being a factor in their choice.
Another provision contained within the Senedd and Elections Act is the lowering of the voting age to 16 in Welsh Assembly and local Welsh council elections; a move that brings Wales in line with elections in Scotland and the Isle of Man. The voting age for Westminster elections will remain at 18.