Wales

Welsh assembly name: 'Senedd' backed by Sheen and stars

L-R: Cerys Matthews and Nigel Owens
Image caption Musician Cerys Matthews and rugby referee Nigel Owens were among those named on the letter

More than 30 famous names have written an open letter calling for the Welsh assembly to be given a Welsh-only name.

Last month assembly members voted to rename the Welsh assembly with a bilingual name, calling it both Senedd Cymru and the Welsh Parliament.

A Welsh-only title "Senedd" - the Welsh word for parliament - was rejected, but there will be another vote next week.

Actor Michael Sheen and musician Cerys Matthews were among those named on the letter sent to AMs.

The letter to all AMs read: "At one time in Wales' history, there was a deliberate and specific effort through the law and by the authorities to erase the Welsh language from every part of public life...

"There is now a broad consensus that Wales' unique language is something to treasure and celebrate as an essential part of our future.

"The naming of our national legislature as the "Senedd" is therefore significant as a statement of the Wales we want to see for generations to come."

Image caption Actor Michael Sheen and presenter Huw Stephens were among 30 names on the letter

It argued the name "Senedd" was already widely used as the institution's name by a majority of people in both Welsh and English.

It also called for AMs voting on 13 November to support the Welsh-only name as "something uniquely Welsh that can be enjoyed and celebrated by us all".

On 9 October, the bilingual name, proposed by former first minister Carwyn Jones, was backed by 43 AMs with 13 against.

Mr Jones had said it was "true to say Senedd is becoming more apparent among the public but I don't think we are there yet - that everyone understands that Senedd means parliament".

A vote backing a Welsh-only name was defeated by 38 AMs, with 16 in support and one abstention.

The vote was not the final stage in the passage of the bill. On Wednesday the bill reaches its third stage and AMs will be asked to consider a number of amendments, including the option of a Welsh-only name for the institution.

Senedd is already the name of the building that houses the assembly debating chamber.

After the bill passes, the new name will come into force in May 2020.

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