Wales politics

Assembly set to be renamed Senedd, instead of Welsh Parliament

Senedd
Image caption The assembly's home in Cardiff Bay is known as the Senedd

The National Assembly for Wales should be renamed Senedd, the presiding officer Elin Jones has said.

She has ditched plans for the institution to be renamed to Welsh Parliament, despite the name having been backed in a consultation.

If passed by AMs, the name could come into effect by May 2020.

Her plan followed concerns that Member of the Welsh Parliament could expose politicians to ridicule, because MWP is the first syllable of muppet.

But while Senedd avoids the issue, it has already been criticised because the abbreviation for Member of the Senedd in Welsh would be the same abbreviation for the Welsh version of Member of Parliament.

Proposals would need to be backed by 40 of the 60 AMs.

The move means Assembly Members would be called Members of the Senedd or MS in English, or Aelodau'r Senedd or AS in Welsh.

In Welsh, the name Aelodau'r Senedd is very similar to the name for MPs in Welsh which is Aelodau Seneddol.

The abbreviation AS is identical to the one being proposed for AMs.

Senedd is, both English and Welsh, currently the name of the building in Cardiff Bay that houses the assembly's proceedings.

It is already often used as a shorthand name for the assembly.

Image caption Elin Jones says the name of the assembly should be Senedd

The proposals form part of a bill that is being introduced early next year, which will lower the voting age in assembly elections to 16, change the name of the assembly and make other changes to the way the assembly works.

Cardiff South and Penarth MP Stephen Doughty tweeted that the Welsh acronym would be very confusing.

Tory AM and former leader Andrew Davies said: "The Welsh public voted on this and wanted Parliament. Mark Drakeford says it best himself when he says his constituents would know what the Welsh Parliament meant, but a lot wouldn't know what Senedd stood for."

Elin Jones has also raised the prospect of the Electoral Commission being made accountable to the assembly and financed by the Assembly Commission in relation to devolved elections in Wales.

In a letter to AMs she said this is a proposal that has come from the Electoral Commission and that similar proposals are being considered by the Scottish Government.

The letter said the Welsh Government supports the idea.

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