Ministers seek Senedd consent for emergency Bill to manage Senedd election during Covid
By Bobby Kelly, Independent Journalist. Last edited 10:00am 20/01/2021.
The Welsh Government is to seek the Senedd’s consent for an emergency Bill to enable the electorate to participate and vote amidst the ongoing restrictions brought about by Coronavirus.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “If consent is given by Members of the Senedd, an emergency Bill would be introduced before the Senedd next week (Wednesday the 27th of January) to provide a range of measures to adapt and manage the conduct of the next Senedd election.
As a last resort, it would enable the Senedd election on 6th May to be postponed for up to six months, 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. Members would also need to agree a new date for the election.”
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 of 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.”