First Welsh law 'for 600 years'

First Minister Carwyn Jones hands the sealed Welsh Act to National Assembly Clerk Claire Clancy Credit: Adrian Masters/ ITV News Wales

There was a small but significant milestone in the development of the National Assembly today when the first Welsh bill became law. It follows last year's referendum which gave the Assembly lawmaking powers: the Official Langauges bill is the first to be drawn up and passed entirely by AMs.

In a ceremony in Cardiff this afternoon, the First Minister applied the Welsh Seal to documents known as 'Letters Patent' which had already been signed by the Queen.

After that, in a short ceremony, he handed the sealed documents to the Clerk of the Assembly, Claire Clancy.

And that completed the necessary formalities which turned the Official Languages Bill into the Official Languages Act and thus the first Welsh Law - as Carwyn Jones said - for 600 years.

The Official Languages Act isn't Welsh Government legislation; its first piece of legislation is held up while the Supreme Court decides if it comes within the remit of Welsh ministers.

But Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler said it was appropriate that the first piece of legislation had the effect of giving Welsh official language status within the Assembly.

The newly-sealed letters patent will now go on display at the National Assembly. All future Acts will be stored at the National Library in Aberystwyth