Carwyn Jones says no rush to pass laws after Yes vote

image captionScenes from the results day. Politicians promised a new era in devolution after 63.5% supported direct law-making powers

First Minister Carwyn Jones has warned against a rush to pass laws for the sake of it after Wales voted in favour of direct law-making powers for the assembly.

Voters delivered a resounding Yes in favour of changing the devolved law-making system.

Mr Jones said "an old nation came of age" after 21 out of 22 counties voted Yes.

But No campaigners pointed to the low turnout of just 35%.

Mr Jones welcomed the "clear and decisive victory".

"The first thing you don't do is produce a raft of legislation just for the sake of it," he said.

Political parties would be able to put forward proposals for new laws in their manifestos for May's assembly election, he said.

Mr Jones added: "When people now say can you change the law in this area that you're responsible for, we can now say 'yes we can', rather than 'we might be able to, but we've got to ask Westminster first'."

The outgoing system, whereby the assembly could ask for powers to be transferred from Westminster on a case-by-case basis, had "led to many delays", Mr Jones said.

Challenged on the turnout on BBC Radio Wales, he said the London assembly and London mayor were set up following a referendum with a lower turnout than Thursday's Welsh vote.

'Turning point'

The turnout was "not brilliant", but reflected a complicated question, Mr Jones said.

Rachel Banner of the group True Wales, which campaigned for a No vote, said it marked a "turning point for our nation".

In a speech in the assembly's Senedd building, where results from around Wales were totted up at a central count, she said: "Has it got the full-hearted consent of the Welsh people?"

She also asked if the 60-member assembly could provide enough "high-quality scrutiny" to make good laws.

The final result saw 517,132 vote Yes, and 297,380 say No - a 63.5% to 36.5% winning margin.

Monmouthshire was the only county to vote No - but only by a a narrow margin of 320 votes, compared to a majority of 11,811 against devolution at the last referendum in 1997.

The Yes campaign had cross-party support in the assembly. Politicians promised a new era in devolution after the referendum - a commitment of the assembly's governing coalition between Labour and Plaid Cymru.

Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, the deputy first minister, said: "To demand respect, you must first display self respect. Today we have done just that."

The Conservatives' assembly leader Nick Bourne - a convert to full law-making powers - said: "Politicians of all parties must now redouble their efforts through innovative and robust policy development and effective scrutiny of the process of making laws for Wales."

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said: "It will make our law-making more efficient, it will save money and it will make it crystal clear where responsibility lies for decision making."

BBC Wales political editor Betsan Powys said the gap between the highest and lowest Yes majorities around Wales were far smaller than the 1997 referendum.

The result showed a "change in attitude to devolution and the assembly since 1997".

More on this story