Wales Bill (HC Bill 5)

A

BILL

TO

Amend the Government of Wales Act 2006 and make provision about the
functions of the Welsh Ministers; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1 Constitutional arrangements

Permanence of the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh Government

1 Permanence of the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh Government

5In the Government of Wales Act 2006, after Part 2 (the Welsh Government)
insert—

“Part 2A Permanence of the Assembly and Welsh Government
92A Permanence of the Assembly and Welsh Government

(1) 10The Assembly and the Welsh Government are a permanent part of the
United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements.

(2) The purpose of this section is, with due regard to the other provisions
of this Act, to signify the commitment of the Parliament and
Government of the United Kingdom to the Assembly and the Welsh
15Government.

(3) In view of that commitment it is declared that the Assembly and the
Welsh Government are not to be abolished except on the basis of a
decision of the people of Wales voting in a referendum.

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92B Recognition of Welsh law

(1) There is a body of Welsh law made by the Assembly and the Welsh
Ministers.

(2) The purpose of this section is, with due regard to the other provisions
5of this Act, to recognise the ability of the Assembly and the Welsh
Ministers to make law forming part of the law of England and Wales.”

Convention about Parliament legislating on devolved matters

2 Convention about Parliament legislating on devolved matters

In section 107 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (Acts of the National
10Assembly for Wales), after subsection (5) insert—

(6) But it is recognised that the Parliament of the United Kingdom will not
normally legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent
of the Assembly.”

Legislative competence

3 15Legislative competence

(1) For section 108 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (legislative competence)
substitute—

108A Legislative competence

(1) An Act of the Assembly is not law so far as any provision of the Act is
20outside the Assembly’s legislative competence.

(2) A provision is outside that competence so far as any of the following
paragraphs apply—

(a) it extends otherwise than only to England and Wales;

(b) it applies otherwise than in relation to Wales or confers,
25imposes, modifies or removes (or gives power to confer,
impose, modify or remove) functions exercisable otherwise
than in relation to Wales;

(c) it relates to reserved matters (see Schedule 7A);

(d) it breaches any of the restrictions in Part 1 of Schedule 7B,
30having regard to any exception in Part 2 of that Schedule from
those restrictions;

(e) it is incompatible with the Convention rights or with EU law.

(3) But subsection (2)(b) does not apply to a provision that—

(a) is ancillary to a provision of any Act of the Assembly or
35Assembly Measure or to a devolved provision of an Act of
Parliament, and

(b) has no greater effect otherwise than in relation to Wales, or in
relation to functions exercisable otherwise than in relation to
Wales, than is necessary to give effect to the purpose of that
40provision.

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(4) For this purpose, a provision of an Act of Parliament is “devolved” if it
would be within the Assembly’s legislative competence if it were
contained in an Act of the Assembly (ignoring paragraphs 8 to 11 of
Schedule 7B).

(5) 5In determining what is necessary for the purposes of subsection (3), any
power to make laws other than that of the Assembly is disregarded.

(6) The question whether a provision of an Act of the Assembly relates to
a reserved matter is determined by reference to the purpose of the
provision, having regard (among other things) to its effect in all the
10circumstances.

(7) For the purposes of this Act a provision is ancillary to another provision
if it—

(a) provides for the enforcement of the other provision or is
otherwise appropriate for making that provision effective, or

(b) 15is otherwise incidental to, or consequential on, that provision.”

(2) For Schedule 7 to that Act (Acts of the Assembly) substitute—

(a) the Schedule 7A set out in Schedule 1 to this Act, and

(b) the Schedule 7B set out in Schedule 2 to this Act.

4 Wales public authorities

(1) 20After section 157 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 insert—

157A “Wales public authority”

(1) In this Act “Wales public authority” means a public authority that—

(a) meets the conditions in subsection (2), or

(b) is specified, or is of a description specified, in Schedule 9A
25(whether or not it meets those conditions).

(2) A public authority meets the conditions in this section if its functions—

(a) are exercisable only in relation to Wales, and

(b) are wholly or mainly functions that do not relate to reserved
matters.

(3) 30In determining for the purposes of this section whether functions of a
public authority are exercisable only in relation to Wales, no account is
taken of any function that—

(a) is exercisable otherwise than in relation to Wales, and

(b) could (apart from this paragraph) be conferred or imposed by
35provision falling within the Assembly’s legislative competence
(by virtue of section 108A(3)).

(4) Where the conditions in subsection (2) are relevant to determining
whether a provision of an Act of the Assembly is within the Assembly’s
legislative competence, the time for assessing whether those conditions
40are met is the time when the Act is passed.

(5) Her Majesty may by Order in Council amend Schedule 9A—

(a) so as to remove or revise an entry, or

(b) so as to add or substitute a public authority whose functions—

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(i) are exercisable wholly or mainly in relation to Wales,
and

(ii) are wholly or mainly functions that do not relate to
reserved matters.

(6) 5No recommendation is to be made to Her Majesty in Council to make
an Order in Council under this section unless a draft of the statutory
instrument containing the Order in Council has been laid before, and
approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament and the
Assembly.

(7) 10Subsection (6) does not apply to a statutory instrument containing an
Order in Council that only makes provision for—

(a) the omission of an entry where the authority concerned has
ceased to exist, or

(b) the variation of an entry in consequence of a change of name or
15transfer of functions.

Such an Order in Council is subject to annulment in pursuance of a
resolution of either House of Parliament.

(8) In this section “public authority” means a body, office or holder of an
office that has functions of a public nature.”

(2) 20After Schedule 9 to that Act insert the Schedule 9A set out in Schedule 4 to this
Act.

Elections

5 Power to make provision about elections

(1) For section 13 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (power to make provision
25about elections etc) substitute—

13 Power of the Welsh Ministers to make provision about elections etc

(1) The Welsh Ministers may by order make provision that would be
within the legislative competence of the Assembly, if included in an Act
of the Assembly, as to—

(a) 30the conduct of elections of Assembly members,

(b) the questioning of an election of Assembly members and the
consequences of irregularities, and

(c) the return of an Assembly member otherwise than at an
election.

(2) 35The provision that may be made under subsection (1)(a) includes, in
particular, provision—

(a) about the registration of electors,

(b) for disregarding alterations in a register of electors,

(c) about the limitation of the election expenses of candidates (and
40the creation of criminal offences in connection with the
limitation of such expenses),

(d) for the combination of polls,

(e) for modifying the application of sections 6 and 8(2) where the
poll at an election for the return of an Assembly constituency
45member is abandoned (or notice of it is countermanded), and

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(f) for modifying section 9(7) to ensure the allocation of the correct
number of seats for the region.

(3) The provision that may be made under subsection (1)(c) includes, in
particular, provision modifying section 11(3) to (5).

(4) 5An order under subsection (1) may—

(a) apply or incorporate, with or without modifications or
exceptions, any provision of or made under the election
enactments, and

(b) so far as may be necessary in consequence of any provision
10made by an order under this section, make modifications of any
provision made by or under any enactment relating to the
registration of parliamentary electors or local government
electors.

(5) In subsection (4)(a) “the election enactments” means—

(a) 15the Representation of the People Acts,

(b) the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000,

(c) the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, and

(d) any other enactments relating to parliamentary elections,
European Parliamentary elections or local government
20elections.

(6) No return of an Assembly member at an election may be questioned
except by an election petition under the provisions of Part 3 of the
Representation of the People Act 1983 as applied or incorporated in an
order under this section.

(7) 25No order is to be made under this section unless a draft of the statutory
instrument containing it has been laid before, and approved by a
resolution of, the Assembly.

13A Power of the Secretary of State to make provision about the
combination of polls

(1) 30The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for—

(a) the combination of polls at ordinary general elections of
Assembly members with polls at the elections listed in
subsection (2), and

(b) the combination of polls at extraordinary general elections of
35Assembly members, and by-elections for the return of
Assembly members, with polls at the elections listed in
subsections (2) and (3).

(2) The elections are—

(a) early parliamentary general elections,

(b) 40parliamentary by-elections, and

(c) European Parliamentary by-elections.

(3) The elections are—

(a) parliamentary general elections, and

(b) European Parliamentary general elections.

(4) 45The Secretary of State may not make regulations under this section
without the agreement of the Welsh Ministers.

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(5) Regulations under subsection (1) may—

(a) apply or incorporate, with or without modifications or
exceptions, any provision made by or under the election
enactments, and

(b) 5modify any form contained in, or in regulations or rules made
under, the Representation of the People Acts so far as may be
necessary to enable it to be used both for the original purpose
and in relation to elections of Assembly members.

(6) In subsection (5)(a) “the election enactments” has the meaning given by
10section 13(5).

(7) No regulations are to be made under this section unless a draft of the
statutory instrument containing them has been laid before, and
approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”

(2) In section 15 of the Representation of the People Act 1985 (combination of
15polls), after subsection (5C) insert—

(5D) Before making provision under subsection (5) in connection with the
combination of polls where one of the elections is a local government
election in Wales, the Secretary of State must consult the Welsh
Ministers.”

6 20Timing of elections

(1) Section 3 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (ordinary general elections) is
amended as set out in subsections (2) to (5).

(2) In subsection (1), for the words after “was held,” substitute unless—

(a) subsection (1A) prevents the poll being held on that day, or

(b) 25provision is made for the day of the poll by an order under
section 4.”

(3) After subsection (1) insert—

(1A) The poll is not to be held on the same date as the date of the poll at—

(a) a parliamentary general election (other than an early
30parliamentary general election), or

(b) a European Parliamentary general election.

(1B) Where subsection (1A) prevents the poll being held on the day
specified in subsection (1), the poll is to be held on such day, subject to
subsection (1A), as the Welsh Ministers may by order specify.”

(4) 35In subsection (2), after “May” insert “or on the day specified by an order under
subsection (1B)”.

(5) After subsection (4) insert—

(5) No order is to be made under subsection (1B) unless a draft of the
statutory instrument containing it has been laid before, and approved
40by a resolution of, the Assembly.”

(6) Section 4 of that Act (power to vary date of ordinary general election) is
amended in as set out in subsections (7) to (10).

(7) In subsection (1)—

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(a) at the beginning insert “Subject to section 3(1A),”;

(b) for “The Secretary of State” substitute “Welsh Ministers”.

(8)
In subsection (4) for “Secretary of State considers” substitute “Welsh Ministers
consider”.

(9) 5Omit subsection (5).

(10) In subsection (6), for “either House of Parliament” substitute “the Assembly”.

(11) The Representation of the People Act 1983 is amended as set out in subsections
(12) to (16).

(12) In section 37 (ordinary day of local elections in England and Wales)—

(a) 10in subsection (1), and in the heading, omit “and Wales”;

(b) in subsection (2A) for the words after “under” substitute “section 37A.”

(13) After that section insert—

37ZA Ordinary day of local elections in Wales

(1) In every year the ordinary day of election of councillors is the same for
15all local government areas in Wales and, subject to section 37B, and
unless subsection (2) applies, is—

(a) the first Thursday in May;

(b) such other day as may be fixed by the Welsh Ministers by order
made not later than 1st February in the year preceding the year
20(or, in the case of an order affecting more than one year, the first
year) in which the order is to take effect.

(2) The ordinary day of election of councillors is not the day specified in or
fixed under subsection (1) if that day is the day of the poll at an ordinary
general election of members of the National Assembly for Wales.

(3) 25Where under subsection (2) the ordinary day of election of councillors
is not the day specified in or fixed under subsection (1), it is such other
day as the Welsh Ministers may by order specify.

(4) The power to make an order under subsection (1)(b) or (3) is exercisable
by statutory instrument.

(5) 30A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (3) may
not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and
approved by a resolution of the National Assembly for Wales.”

(14) Section 37B (power to change date of local elections to date of European
Parliamentary general election: Wales) is amended as follows.

(15) 35After subsection (1) insert—

(1A) The Welsh Ministers may not make an order under this section if the
date of the poll at the European Parliamentary general election is the
same date as the poll at an ordinary general election of members of the
National Assembly for Wales.”

(16) 40In subsection (4)(b), for “37(1)(b)” substitute “37ZA(1)(b)”.

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7 Electoral registration: the digital service

(1) Section 10ZC of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (registration of
electors in Great Britain) is amended as set out in subsections (2) to (4).

(2) In subsection (4)—

(a) 5for “this section, so far as” substitute this section—

(a) so far as”;

(b) at the end insert , and

(b) so far as it is exercisable by a Minister of the Crown to
make provision about a UK digital service in relation to
10elections in Wales, is exercisable by the Welsh Ministers
concurrently with that Minister.”

(3) After subsection (5) insert—

(5A) The power of the Welsh Ministers to make regulations by virtue of
subsection (4) is not exercisable without the agreement of a Minister of
15the Crown.

(5B) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Welsh
Ministers by virtue of subsection (4) is subject to annulment in
pursuance of a resolution of the National Assembly for Wales.”

(4) In subsection (6), after the definition of “election in Scotland” insert—

  • 20““election in Wales” means—

    (a)

    an election of Assembly members, or

    (b)

    a local government election in Wales;”.

(5) Section 10ZD of that Act (registration of electors in Great Britain: alterations) is
amended as set out in subsections (6) to (8).

(6) 25In subsection (4)—

(a) for “this section, so far as” substitute this section—

(a) so far as”;

(b) at the end insert , and

(b) so far as it is exercisable by a Minister of the Crown to
30make provision about a UK digital service in relation to
elections in Wales, is exercisable by the Welsh Ministers
concurrently with that Minister.”

(7) After subsection (5) insert—

(5A) The power of the Welsh Ministers to make regulations by virtue of
35subsection (4) is not exercisable without the agreement of a Minister of
the Crown.

(5B) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Welsh
Ministers by virtue of subsection (4) is subject to annulment in
pursuance of a resolution of the National Assembly for Wales.”

(8) 40In subsection (6), after “election in Scotland” insert “, election in Wales”.

(9) Section 53 of that Act (power to make regulations about registration etc) is
amended as set out in subsections (10) to (12).

(10) In subsection (9)—

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(a) for “this section, so far as” substitute this section—

(a) so far as”;

(b) at the end insert , and

(b) so far as it is exercisable by a Minister of the Crown to
5make provision about a UK digital service in relation to
elections in Wales, is exercisable by the Welsh Ministers
concurrently with that Minister.”

(11) After subsection (10) insert—

(10A) The power of the Welsh Ministers to make regulations by virtue of
10subsection (9) is not exercisable without the agreement of a Minister of
the Crown.

(10B) A statutory instrument containing regulations made by the Welsh
Ministers by virtue of subsection (9) is subject to annulment in
pursuance of a resolution of the National Assembly for Wales.”

(12) 15In subsection (11), after the definition of “election in Scotland” insert—

  • ““election in Wales” means—

    (a)

    an election of Assembly members, or

    (b)

    a local government election in Wales;”.

Other provision about legislation by the Assembly

8 20Super-majority requirement for certain legislation

In the Government of Wales Act 2006, after section 111 insert—

111A Bills with protected subject-matter: super-majority requirement

(1) For the purposes of this Part a provision of a Bill relates to a protected
subject-matter if it would modify, or confer power to modify, any of the
25matters listed in subsection (2) (but not if the provision is incidental to
or consequential on another provision of the Bill).

(2) The matters are—

(a) the name of the Assembly,

(b) the persons entitled to vote as electors at an election for
30membership of the Assembly,

(c) the system by which members of the Assembly are returned,

(d) the specification or number of constituencies, regions or any
equivalent electoral area, and

(e) the number of members to be returned for each constituency,
35region or equivalent electoral area.

(3) The Presiding Officer must, after the last time when a Bill may be
amended but before the decision whether to pass or reject it—

(a) decide whether or not, in the view of the Presiding Officer, any
provision of the Bill relates to a protected subject-matter, and

(b) 40state that decision.

(4) If the Presiding Officer decides that any provision of the Bill relates to
a protected subject-matter, the Bill is not passed unless the number of