AN EMERGENCY bill could pave the way for this year's Senedd election to be delayed by up to six months.

The Welsh Government has said it has a "clear intention" to hold the election as planned on May 6, but "significant uncertainty" around the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic means the vote may need to be delayed on public health grounds, a minister said today, Wednesday.

Delaying the election would be a "last resort", the Welsh Government said, "if the pandemic presents such a serious threat to public health that it is not safe to hold the election at that time".

The government will ask Senedd members to give their consent to the emergency bill. For the bill to proceed, it would require a two-thirds majority in the Senedd.


Members would also need to agree a new date for the election.

"The Welsh Government’s clear intention is that the next Senedd election should be held on Thursday, May 6," housing and local government minister Julie James said. "We are also determined to do everything in our power to ensure people can vote when the election takes place.

"However, due to the unpredictable nature of coronavirus, there is significant uncertainty about what the situation will be like in May. That is why we are seeking the Senedd’s consent to introduce an emergency bill that would give members of the Senedd the powers necessary to manage the conduct of the election, in order to protect public health."

Ms James added: "If the prevalence of the pandemic requires that the election is postponed, the bill will provide the powers, to be used as a last resort, to postpone the election for up to six months.

"The bill would ensure this is subject to the agreement of two-thirds of members of the Senedd, which means all members would have a role in the final decision."