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Ministers seek Senedd consent for emergency Bill to manage election during pandemic

20 Jan 2021 2 minute read
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The Welsh Government is to seek the Senedd’s approval for an emergency Bill to make sure the next Senedd election can go ahead safely.

It says the purpose is to put measures in place that will enable the electorate to vote during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

If consent is given by MSs, an emergency Bill will be introduced before the Senedd on Wednesday 27 January.

It would also allow the Senedd election on 6 May to be postponed if the pandemic presents such a serious threat to public health that it is not safe to hold the election at that time.

This would be subject to the agreement of two-thirds of Members of the Senedd, and they would also need to agree a new date for the election.

‘Should be held’ 

Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James, said: “The Welsh Government’s clear intention is that the next Senedd election should be held on Thursday 6th May 2021.

“We are also determined to do everything in our power to ensure people can vote when the election takes place.

“However, due to the unpredictable nature of coronavirus, there is significant uncertainty about what the situation will be like in May.

“That is why we are seeking the Senedd’s consent to introduce an emergency Bill that would give Members of the Senedd the powers necessary to manage the conduct of the election, in order to protect public health.

“If the prevalence of the pandemic requires that the election is postponed, the Bill will provide the powers, to be used as a last resort, to postpone the election for up to six months.

“The Bill would ensure this is subject to the agreement of two-thirds of Members of the Senedd, which means all Members would have a role in the final decision.”

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