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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 11:51 GMT
Wales@Westminster newslog

It's Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life.

Tuesday 24 January

What's in a name?

posted by David | 1150 GMT |

What's in a name? Quite a lot where Welsh politics is concerned.

The Welsh assembly's official name is the National Assembly for Wales, although that doesn't go far enough for many of its inhabitants.

Liberal Democrat MPs led an attempt in the House of Commons to re-name the assembly the senedd, which translates as parliament.

The idea of calling the assembly a senedd was once floated by Tony Blair in an interview with the Western Mail before he became prime minister.

His interviewer (me) looked up senedd in the dictionary and wrote up the story, drawing the conclusion that Labour were keen to offer the Welsh an assembly with some power.

Cue angry phone call from Tony Blair spin doctor, and the word senedd never passed Mr Blair's lips again.

Funnily enough the new assembly building in Cardiff has been christened the senedd, even if the assembly's powers stop short of most parliaments. (The assembly also offers "assembly parliamentary services".)

Even some who oppose giving the assembly full parliamentary powers like the term senedd as the sort of word that could become established in English, rather like the Dail (Irish parliament) has.

The UK Government argues that the assembly is happy to be known as an assembly and to re-brand it a senedd could lead to confusion with the Westminster parliament.

The Lib Dem attempt to create a senedd, backed by Plaid Cymru, fell by 398 votes to 38.

Tony Blair didn't vote.




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