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Understanding devolution in Wales
Understanding devolution in Wales

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4.1 Richard Commission

Before its first term had ended, First Minister Rhodri Morgan established the Commission on the Powers and Electoral Arrangements of the National Assembly for Wales, chaired by Lord Richard to address some of these criticisms.

In early 2004, the Commission recommended:

  • Primary legislative powers should be conferred on the Assembly and a reserved powers model whereby the Assembly could act in all areas not explicitly reserved to Westminster be adopted.
  • The legislature and the executive should be separated out with the executive answerable to the legislature.
  • To negate two ‘classes’ of AM, all should be elected via the Single Transferable Vote system.

These recommendations prompted the UK Government to pass the Government of Wales Act (GoWA) (2006). It separated the executive and the legislature, gave the Assembly secondary law-making powers and offered the possibility of a further referendum on primary law-making powers.

The Bill was criticised for retaining significant control at Westminster. Nevertheless, it became law in 2006 and its provisions enacted at the start of the third Assembly in 2007.