/Senedd Guide

Senedd Guide

Parties are ordered by size of the group and AMs are in alphabetical order by constituency or region.

Labour has dominated Welsh politics since the 1920s and have formed a government every year since the National Assembly was established in 1999. With that comes criticism over the chronic underperformance of Welsh public services – particularly the NHS – but this hasn’t dealt a fatal blow to them yet, with Welsh Labour’s brand of paternalistic social democracy being dull and practical enough to hold off a threat from a divided opposition. After a long internal battle, the party have come around to supporting devolution (and extra powers for the National Assembly) but oppose Welsh independence.

  • 1. David Rees (Aberavon); Chair: External Affairs Committee
  • 3. Jack Sargeant (Alyn & Deeside) +
  • 5. Alun Davies (Blaenau Gwent); Local Government & Public Services Secretary
  • 7. Carwyn Jones (Bridgend); First Minister, Party Leader
  • 8. Hefin David (Caerphilly)
  • 9. Jenny Rathbone (Cardiff Central)
  • 10. Julie Morgan (Cardiff North)
  • 11. Vaughan Gething (Cardiff South & Penarth); Health Secretary
  • 12. Mark Drakeford (Cardiff West); Finance Secretary
  • 16. Ken Skates (Clwyd South); Economy & Infrastructure Secretary
  • 18. Vikki Howells (Cynon Valley)
  • 19. Hannah Blythyn (Delyn); Minister for the Environment
  • 21. Rebecca Evans (Gower); Minister for Housing & Regeneration
  • 22. Rhianon Passmore (Islwyn)
  • 23. Lee Waters (Llanelli)
  • 24. Dawn Bowden (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
  • 27. Jeremy Miles (Neath); Counsel General
  • 28. John Griffiths (Newport East); Chair: Communities Committee
  • 29. Jayne Bryant (Newport West); Chair: Standards Committee
  • 30. Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore); Minister for Children & Social Care
  • 31. Mick Antoniw (Pontypridd); Chair: Constitutional Affairs Committee
  • 34. Mike Hedges (Swansea East); Chair: Environment Committee
  • 35. Julie James (Swansea West); Leader of the House
  • 36. Lynne Neagle (Torfaen); Chair: Education & Young People Committee
  • 37. Ann Jones (Vale of Clwyd); Dipwy Llywydd/Deputy Presiding Officer
  • 38. Jane Hutt (Vale of Glamorgan)
  • 39. Lesley Griffiths (Wrexham); Energy, Planning & Rural Affairs Secretary
  • 41. Eluned Morgan (Mid & West Wales)
  • 44. Joyce Watson (Mid & West Wales); Assembly Commissioner

    + Elected via a by-election on February 6th 2018 following the death of the incumbent, Carl Sargeant, on November 7th 2017.

The Conservatives in Wales have traditionally represented the English-speaking landed class and business interests, so no surprise that a significant proportion of their AMs since 1999 have a farming background. Their support has gradually grown over the years following their tentative and pragmatic embrace of devolution under Nick Bourne – having initially campaigned against it. However, in heart and mind, the party are British nationalists whose senior elected representatives are perhaps more enthusiastic about devolution than their grassroots members.

  • 2. Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy)
  • 14. Angela Burns (Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire)
  • 17. Darren Millar (Clwyd West)
  • 25. Nick Ramsay (Monmouth); Chair: Public Accounts Committee
  • 26. Russell George (Montgomery); Chair: Economy & Infrastructure Committee
  • 32. Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire)
  • 46. Mark Isherwood (North Wales)
  • 49. Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central); Party Leader, Leader of the Opposition
  • 51. David Melding (South Wales Central)
  • 53. Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East)
  • 55. Mark Reckless* (South Wales East)
  • 58. Suzy Davies (South Wales West); Assembly Commissioner

* Originally elected as a UKIP AM.

Plaid Cymru’s support base lies mostly in Welsh-speaking rural areas, but since a big policy shift in the 1970s, they’ve positioned themselves on the radical left, attempting to occupy space vacated by the (old) Liberal party and hold the Greens at arms length. Despite electing a non-Welsh speaking, south Wales valleys-based leader in Leanne Wood, they’ve struggled to make a significant breakthrough, attempting to mix democratic socialism and cultural conservatism with their lukewarm support for Welsh independence.

  • 4. Sian Gwenllian (Arfon)
  • 13. Adam Price (Carmarthen East & Dinefwr); Assembly Commissioner
  • 15. Elin Jones (Ceredigion); Llywydd/Presiding Officer
  • 33. Leanne Wood (Rhondda); Party Leader
  • 40. Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn)
  • 43. Simon Thomas (Mid & West Wales); Chair: Finance Committee
  • 45. Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales)
  • 54. Steffan Lewis (South Wales East)
  • 57. Bethan Jenkins (South Wales West); Chair: Culture Committee
  • 60. Dai Lloyd (South Wales West); Chair: Health Committee

It’s rare a party can say they’ve achieved their main goal, but UKIP did that with the successful “Leave” vote in the 2016 EU Referendum. UKIP once thrived under an anti-establishment right-wing populism. However, since the departure of media celebrity, Nigel Farage, UKIP endured serious leadership and talent issues. Due to the lack of a serious intellectual base, they’ve been unable to set out a coherent policy vision other than an anti-immigration and anti-foreigner sentiment that ranges from hard English/British nationalism to outright xenophobia.

  • 42. Neil Hamilton (Mid & West Wales); Party Leader
  • 48. Michelle Brown (North Wales)
  • 50. Gareth Bennett (South Wales Central)
  • 56. David Rowlands (South Wales East); Chair: Petitions Committee
  • 59. Caroline Jones (South Wales West); Assembly Commissioner

Independents are not members of any party group. Independent AMs have been elected in the past but are rare. It’s far more likely for an AM to become an Independent following a spat with their former party, or having been on the receiving end of a disciplinary procedure, than for political reasons.

  • 20. Dafydd Elis-Thomas* (Dwyfor Meirionnydd); Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport
  • 47. Mandy Jones+ (North Wales)
  • 52. Neil McEvoy~ (South Wales Central)

* Originally elected as a Plaid Cymru AM
+ Elected via the North Wales regional list as a UKIP AM to replace Nathan Gill on 28th December 2017, but was barred from joining the UKIP Assembly Group due to choice of staff.

~ A suspension from the Plaid Cymru group that started on September 27th 2017 was made permanent on 16th January 2018.

For most of the 19th and early 20th Century, the Liberals were the dominant force in Welsh politics. Following an ill-fated five-year coalition with the Conservatives at UK level between 2010-2015, the party’s influence has receded at an extraordinary rate; as of 2017 the party have no MPs in Wales and lost 4 AMs in the 2016 Welsh General Election. Their position as a centrist, pro-EU party leans their support towards federalism, but they remain against Welsh independence.

  • 6. Kirsty Williams (Brecon & Radnor); Education Secretary