I am delighted to inform the House that I have today in my capacity as Secretary of State for Wales undertaken my formal responsibility under the Government of Wales Act 2006 to make the new Standing Orders of the National Assembly for Wales. This gives full effect to the proposals unanimously agreed by the Assembly on 7 February.
The Government of Wales Act 2006 are the most important step forward for devolution since the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales in 1999. The Act puts Wales on a new constitutional footing and represents a landmark step in the growing strength, stature and self-confidence of the Assembly.
By granting enhanced legislative powers for Wales, it will enable the Assembly to deliver tailor-made policies for the people of Wales. And by putting the possibility of primary powers on the statute book for the first time ever, subject to the approval of the people of Wales in a referendum, it will settle the constitutional status of the Assembly for a generation.
Since 17 May 2006 the Standing Orders Committee of the Assembly has been working to put in place a set of procedures that will enable the Assembly to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities that the new powers in the Government of Wales Act provide. Unlike the Assembly’s Standing Orders under the 1998 Act, these new procedures were developed in Wales, for Wales, by the elected representatives of the people of Wales.
I congratulate the work done by all sides of the Assembly to establish the new procedures under which the Assembly will operate from May. It will be for the members of the new National Assembly to make these Standing Orders work and to deliver a brighter future for the people of Wales.
Copies of the Standing Orders have been placed in the Library and the Vote Office. They are also available on the Wales Office website at: www.walesoffice.gov.uk.