PLANS which could see the number of AMs increased from 60 to as many as 90 will not go ahead before the next Assembly Election in 2021, it has been announced.

A report released in 2017 recommended the size of the Assembly should be increased to account for the increased number of devolved powers. And only last month presiding officer Elin Jones said increasing the number of AMs was the only way for the people of Wales to achieve "fair and proportionate representation in their national Parliament.”

But the idea has proven contentious. In a consultation carried out last year, 56 per cent said they backed the idea.

And, in a letter to AMs this afternoon, Ms Jones confirmed no legislation would be brought forward on the proposal during the current Assembly term, which ends in 2021.


In the letter the presiding officer said the Assembly Commission, which runs the Assembly, would continue to carry forward the first phase of reforming the organisation - which will allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in devolved elections - but "it is not possible" to carry forward the second stage, which would involve increasing the number of AMs.

"As the challenges facing the Assembly’s capacity intensify, we are confident that the case in favour of increasing the number of AMs has been made.

"Nevertheless, the issue of reforming the electoral system continues to spark a wide range of views, with one party having already confirmed that it would require a manifesto commitment before any such change was implemented."

South Wales Argus:

Elin Jones

She added: "Our work to explore issues relating to the size of the Assembly and how members should be elected will continue assisting the public debate and political parties as they consider their views on these matters."

The 2017 report said the 40 constituencies in Wales should be cut in half, with each area represented by between four and six AMs.

This would involve merging Newport East and West, along with Monmouth and Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent and Islwyn, while Caerphilly would merge with Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.

Each of these would be represented by either four or five AMs.

Regional AMs would be scrapped entirely.