Senedd votes to increase number of politicians in Welsh parliament and change voting system

It means that total number of politicians will rise from 60 to 96 at the next Senedd election in or before May 2026. Credit: PA Images

Senedd members have voted to back plans to increase the number of Senedd members and to change the votes system. 43 members voted for it while 16 - the Conservatives - voted against. It needed 40 members to pass.The bill will now go to the King for Royal Assent which is expected in June or July. It then becomes law which will pave the way for the changes to be introduced in time for the 2026 Senedd election.

Under the new 'closed list' voting system, the public will vote for parties rather than individuals.

The country will be split into 16 large constituencies, instead of the current 40 and five regions, and each constituency will have six elected members.

It means that total number of politicians will rise from 60 to 96 at the next Senedd election in or before May 2026.

The change was proposed as part of the Welsh Government's co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru, who argue as the powers of the Senedd have grown since devolution, so has the workload on politicians.

They believe in order for the Welsh Parliament to continue to function there needs to be more representatives in Y Siambr (the chamber).

Commenting on the results, Elin Jones MS, Llywydd of the Senedd said: "As we mark 25 years of devolution this week, today's vote represents the start of the next chapter in the story of Wales' democracy."

“The Senedd today is a very different place compared with the National Assembly of 1999. We now have a fully-fledged parliament with law-making and tax-varying powers, but our capacity to represent the people of Wales and to hold the government to account hasn’t grown at the same pace."

She added: “The changes supported today by a clear majority of Members will ensure a stronger, more effective Senedd for the 21st century.”

Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said the bill paved the way for a parliament "fit for the 21st century" and provided a new foundation to build a fairer Wales and to prepare for political and constitutional change.

However opponents to the changes argue the new systems is less democratic and should not be high up the Welsh Government's priority list.

Darren Millar MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for the Constitution, said: “The £120 million plan for more politicians, more fancy offices and a larger Senedd are the furthest thing from the Welsh people’s priorities, but that’s what Labour and Plaid have pushed through today.

“I have said it before and I will say it again. Wales desperately needs more doctors, dentists, nurses and teachers, not Labour and Plaid’s plans to spend millions on more politicians.”

Andrew RT Davies MS, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, referred to the changes as "a national embarrassment", stating: “Our Welsh NHS is on its knees, educational attainment is collapsing and employment numbers are plummeting, but this vanity project is Labour and Plaid’s top priority.

“The Welsh Conservatives would reverse these plans and spend the money on our health service instead."

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