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Wales Bill will be in Queen's Speech

The Queen's Speech will be delivered on May 27th Photo: PA/ Geoff Pugh

A law to transfer new powers to Wales will be amongst the first to be outlined by David Cameron's government.

There had been reports that a bill paving the way for more devolution may not have been included in laws set out in the Queen's Speech on May 27th.

But I understand a Wales Bill will be included when the Queen sets out the Conservative government's programme of legislation.

Following that, draft legislation will be ready by the end of the year for pre-legislative scrutiny. A Wales Office bill team, assembled by the Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb before the election, has been working on the bill ever since.

Although the bill will appear early, I understand that it is likely to be carried over into the second year of parliament to 'make sure it gets proper scrutiny.'

On a visit to Wales during the election campaign, the Chancellor George Osborne had promised a Wales Bill within the government's first 100 days but reports of a delay had sparked criticism from Welsh Politicians.

Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood warned that it was 'wrong for the UK government to try to stifle this' while the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams said 'the fact that the Tories are now dithering on bringing powers to the people of Wales is shameful.'

It was also discussed by the Prime Minister and First Minister when they held a phone conversation on Tuesday. Welsh Government sources say David Cameron seemed surprised by any suggestion that the Wales Bill wouldn't be in the first Queen's Speech and he told Carwyn Jones that he expected to see it there.

Whenever the bill appears it's expected to give the Welsh Government powers including energy decisions, control over fracking, transport, the environment and speed limits. The National Assembly will have control of its own elections and able to lower the voting age to 16 for Welsh elections.

The powers followed cross-party talks which culminated in a St. David's Day agreement. You can read more details of that by clicking here.

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