A general debate on Welsh Affairs is held each year in the Commons Chamber on, or around, St David's Day. Since 2010, the Backbench Committee has allocated time for the annual debate from its 35 allotted days.
There is no debate pack for this debate but links to relevant briefings are provided below.
The first debate specifically set aside for discussion of “Welsh affairs” in the House of Commons took place more than 75 years ago on 17 October 1944.
That debate was led by Megan Lloyd George, the Liberal MP for Anglesey, who considered the debate “somewhat overdue”. She said: “We welcome this Debate as a recognition of the distinctive problems and needs of Wales, not as an area, not as a part of England, but as a nation with a living language of its own, with hundreds of years of history behind it, and with its own culture.”
Not all Welsh Members supported the idea of a dedicated debate. Aneurin Bevan, the Labour MP for Ebbw Vale, said that while Wales had “a special place, a special individuality, a special culture and special claims”, he did not think “this is the place where any of them can properly be considered”: “There may be an argument—I think there is an argument—for considerable devolution of government, but there is no need for a special day in Parliament and this Debate has demonstrated it completely. Do not let us indulge in the humbug that this Debate to-day has had the slightest relevance to any important Welsh problem.”
Commons Library briefings
Commons Library Briefings
Brexit: devolved legislature business, A record of Brexit-related business in the devolved legislatures, updated each Monday. The paper includes a links to statements made by Ministers in the Welsh Assembly. On 20 January 2020, Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles made a Written Statement on The Future UK/EU Relationship: Negotiating Priorities for Wales.
- This briefing paper explains the constitutional and legal implications of those two Acts, taken together, and what it means for the next part of the Brexit process.
- In October 2019, the Welsh Government published Reforming our Union: Shared Governance in the UK, which considered how the UK might face “the potential challenges resulting from Brexit.” It argued that as a “voluntary association,” the UK “must be open to any of its parts democratically to choose to withdraw from the Union.”
- Prior to the 1997 referendum on devolving power from Westminster to Wales, the then Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies, memorably referred to devolution as “a process, not an event”. This briefing paper looks at both the “event” of devolution in 1997-99 and the “process” of its development since then, outlining the structure and powers of devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, London and parts of England.
In September 2017, the then First Minister Carwyn Jones established a Commission on Justice in Wales to review the operation of the justice system in Wales, including the prospect of a separate jurisdiction (which did not form part of the Wales Act 2017). The report was published on the 23rd of October 2019.
Welsh Affairs Committee
Current Welsh Affairs Committee Inquiries
Responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Wales (The Committee questions the Secretary of State for Wales on a wide range of issues affecting Wales.)
Recently concluded Welsh Affairs Committee Inquiries
Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station – Inquiry announced 7 February 2019
Devolution of Air Passenger Duty to Wales – Inquiry announced 08 January 2019
Renewable energy in Wales – Inquiry announced 23 July 2018
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon– Inquiry announced 09 May 2018
Prison provision in Wales – Inquiry announced 15 January 2018
Brexit, trade and customs: implications for Wales – Inquiry announced 2018
S4C review – Inquiry announced 03 July 2018
Recent Westminster Hall debates on Welsh matters
- Wales’s contribution to the UK armed forces, HC Deb 25 February 2020 cc64-82WH
- Industrial and Commercial Waste Incineration, HC Deb 28 January 2020 cc266-82WH
- Commission on Justice in Wales, HC Deb 22 January 2020 cc138-60WH
- Tata Steelworks: Newport, HC Deb 8 October 2019 cc516-25WH
- Diplomatic Representation in Wales, HC Deb 18 June 2019 cc48-55WH
- Wales: Regional Development Funding, HC Deb 7 May 2019 cc272-90WH