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Understanding devolution in Wales
Understanding devolution in Wales

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7 The Fifth Assembly (2016-2021)

The fifth Assembly took place through a period of massive constitutional and political upheaval.

Six weeks after the Assembly election, the UK held a referendum on membership of the European Union. The UK Government subsequently attempted to navigate the Brexit process, first under Theresa May and then Boris Johnson. There were also increasing calls for a second Scottish independence referendum amid sustained support for the SNP. The Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont was suspended for three years between 2017 and 2020.

The Assembly itself was unsettled. UKIP won 7 seats, but internal disagreements saw these AMs regroup repeatedly in different arrangements and as different parties. Two members of Plaid defected to sit as independents. Under intense pressure following the death of Welsh Government Minister, Carl Sargeant, First Minister Carwyn Jones announced his resignation in April 2018. Plaid also appointed a new leader in this time. The Welsh Conservatives appointed two.