National Assembly for Wales officially changes name to Welsh Parliament

After nearly twenty-one years the National Assembly for Wales is no more.

Instead the institution in Cardiff Bay will officially be known from today as the Welsh Parliament or Senedd Cymru.

Actually most expect people whatever language they speak to call it the Senedd - as the building itself is named.

There was a campaign to support a Welsh-only name for the Senedd which was backed by referee Nigel Owens and Cerys Matthews, but members voted for it to be renamed bilingually.

The Senedd Llywydd, or Presiding Officer, who is the equivalent of Speaker in the House of Commons, said the changes are important, even though dealing with the pandemic is the most important thing on the mind of decision-makers in Cardiff Bay.

"Responding to the Coronavirus crisis remains the priority of the Senedd and its Members", Elin Jones MS said.

"Now, more than ever, our citizens expect a strong national parliament working for Wales: Members asking questions of the Government, scrutinising emergency powers and laws, and representing their communities to the best of their ability in the Senedd."

Assembly Members will be known as Members of the Senedd

The role of our parliament is of far more significance than its name. But it is right that the name reflects the range of powers and responsibilities this parliament holds on behalf of the people of Wales. The Senedd today is a very different institution to the one established as the Assembly in 1999. Now with full law-making powers and the ability to vary taxes, the new name reflects the Senedd's constitutional status as a national parliament.

Elin Jones MS, Llywydd

Assembly Members, who have been known up till now as AMs, will now become Members of the Senedd - or MS in English. In Welsh, their title will be Aelod o'r Senedd - or AS.

We get to choose who takes those titles in next year's Welsh election which will see another big change that has been introduced in the same legislation.

Sixteen and seventeen-year-oldswill be allowed to vote for the first time when the election is held next May.

There won't be much change at the Senedd itself today. The public is banned from entering it because of coronavirus and members are meeting via video conferencing.

Neither will the signs be taken down outside the building, particularly the large sign which greets visitors to Cardiff Bay. That won't be taken down until the lockdown restrictions allow such work to resume.