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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 9 February, 2000, 18:43 GMT
Timeline: Welsh devolution
The Welsh Office is replaced by the National Assembly
The Welsh Office is replaced by the National Assembly
A chronology of the devolution of power to Wales following the referendum in 1997 which authorised setting up the National Assembly for Wales.

1 May 1997: Labour wins the General Election with a landslide. After 18 years in opposition, the party can now implement its policies - including devolution. But first, devolution needs to be endorsed by the Welsh people in a referendum.

18 September 1997: After three weeks of sometimes bitter campaigning, voting starts in the devolution referendum. In the previous vote on the subject, in 1979, Wales had voted four to one against having an Assembly.

19 September 1997: The result of the poll is announced. It is a Yes vote, but only just. The margin in favour is only 6,721. However, it is enough for the government to proceed with its policy.

The
The "architect of devolution", Ron Davies
31 July 1998: The Government of Wales Act receives the royal assent and becomes law. An Assembly will be established following elections in May 1999.

27 October 1998: Ron Davies, the Secretary of State for Wales resigns from the Cabinet after a "moment of madness" on Clapham Common in which he was robbed after agreeing to go for a meal with a stranger. He had presided over the referendum win and had steered the devolution legislation through parliament. He is replaced as Welsh Secretary by Cardiff South and Penarth MP Alun Michael.

20 February 1999: After a bruising contest, the Wales Labour Party narrowly votes for Alun Michael to be its leader in the National Assembly, but only thanks to the use of secret union block votes. The grassroots party members had overwhelmingly backed favourite Rhodri Morgan, the Cardiff West MP.

Rhodri Morgan, grassroots favourite for Labour Assembly leader
Rhodri Morgan, grassroots favourite for Labour Assembly leader
6 May 1999: The first ever "Welsh General Election", to choose the Assembly's 40 constituency members and 20 regional list members, is held. The result is a shock for Labour. The party captures only 28 of the 60 seats - short of an overall majority. Plaid Cymru's support surges, and the nationalists take 17 seats, including some Labour stongholds in the Valleys, becoming the second-biggest Assembly party. Alun Michael becomesfirst secretary in a minority Labour administration.

26 May 1999: The Queen and the Prince of Wales officially open the Assembly at its temporary home in Crickhowell House in Cardiff Bay. A purpose-built Assembly chamber is due to be erected nearby.

1 September 1999: The Assembly's second session begins. Pressure grows on Alun Michael to deliver match-funding for the Objective One European aid package for Wales, worth about 1.5bn. As the issue drags on, Plaid Cymru threaten a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

9 February 2000: The Assembly debates the no-confidence motion, and Mr Michael resigns as first secretary before the vote is carried. He is replaced temporarily by Rhodri Morgan, the man Tony Blair wanted to keep out of leadership in Wales.

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