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)
- 7. Carwyn Jones (Bridgend)
- 8. Dr Hefin David (Caerphilly)
- 9. Jenny Rathbone (Cardiff Central)
- 10. Julie Morgan (Cardiff North); Deputy Minister for Health
- 11. Vaughan Gething (Cardiff South & Penarth); Health Minister
- 12. Mark Drakeford (Cardiff West) First Minister, Party Leader
- 16. Ken Skates (Clwyd South); Minister for Economy & Transport
- 18. Vikki Howells (Cynon Valley)
- 19. Hannah Blythyn (Delyn); Deputy Minister for Housing & Local Government
- 21. Rebecca Evans (Gower); Finance Minister & Trefnydd
- 22. Rhianon Passmore (Islwyn)
- 23. Lee Waters (Llanelli); Deputy Minister for Economy & Transport
- 24. Dawn Bowden (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
- 27. Jeremy Miles (Neath); Counsel General & Brexit Minister
- 28. John Griffiths (Newport East); Chair: Communities Committee
- 29. Jayne Bryant (Newport West); Chair: Standards Committee
- 30. Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore)
- 31. Mick Antoniw (Pontypridd); Chair: Constitutional Affairs & Justice Committee
- 34. Mike Hedges (Swansea East); Chair: Environment Committee
- 35. Julie James (Swansea West); Minister for Housing & Local Government
- 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); Chief Whip
- 39. Lesley Griffiths (Wrexham); Minister for Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs
- 41. Eluned Morgan (Mid & West Wales); Minister for International Relations & Welsh Language
- 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 it’s 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); Chair: Petitions Committee
- 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); Party Leader, Leader of the Opposition
- 46. Mark Isherwood (North Wales)
- 49. Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central)
- 51. David Melding (South Wales Central)
- 53. Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East)
- 58. Suzy Davies (South Wales West); Assembly Commissioner
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. They’ve struggled to make a significant breakthrough, attempting to mix democratic socialism and cultural conservatism with (until 2019) lukewarm support for Welsh independence – which has since entered mainstream discussion due to the efforts of Yes Cymru and affiliated organisations. In September 2018, they elected Adam Price as leader, ending Leanne Wood’s six years in charge.
- 4. Sian Gwenllian (Arfon)
- 13. Adam Price (Carmarthen East & Dinefwr); Party Leader
- 15. Elin Jones (Ceredigion); Llywydd/Presiding Officer
- 33. Leanne Wood (Rhondda)
- 40. Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn); Assembly Commissioner
- 43. Helen Mary Jones (Mid & West Wales)*
- 45. Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales)
- 54. Delyth Jewell (South Wales East)+
- 57. Bethan Sayed (South Wales West); Chair: Culture Committee
- 60. Dr Dai Lloyd (South Wales West); Chair: Health Committee
*Returned on the regional list on August 2nd 2018 following the resignation of Simon Thomas on July 26th 2018.
+Returned on the regional list on January 16th 2019 following the death of Steffan Lewis on January 11th 2019.
The Brexit Party was founded in January 2019 by former UKIP leader, Nigel Farage – in part because of the shift by UKIP towards the far-right and with an eye on the 2019 European Parliament elections. The populist party/limited company appeals to voters who voted Leave in the 2016 EU membership referendum by promising a “No Deal Brexit”, despite having few other formal policies beyond that. On May 15th 2019, several former UKIP AMs announced they were to form a Brexit Party group in the Senedd. The leader in the Senedd, Mark Reckless, has endorsed a policy which would see the Senedd abolished and replaced with sitting MPs and a directly-elected First Minister/Mayor.
As of February 2020, the Brexit Party has been placed behind and indefinite “cordon sanitaire” on Senedd Home – explained here in more detail.
- 47. Mandy Jones+ (North Wales)
- 55. Mark Reckless¶¬ (South Wales East); Party Leader
- 56. David Rowlands¶ (South Wales East); Assembly Commissioner
- 59. Caroline Jones¶(South Wales West)
+ Returned on the North Wales regional list to replace Nathan Gill (UKIP) on 28th December 2017.
¶ Originally elected as a UKIP AM.
¶¬ Originally elected as a UKIP AM, sat as an independent member of the Conservative group from 6th April 2017 – 14th May 2019.
Independents are not members of any party group. Independent AMs have been elected in the past but it’s a rare occurance. It’s far more likely for an AM to become an Independent following a dispute with their former party – or having been on the receiving end of a disciplinary procedure – than for political reasons.
As of November 2019 the former UKIP AM, Gareth Bennett, remains behind an indefinite “cordon sanitaire” on Senedd Home – explained here in more detail.
- 20. Dafydd Elis-Thomas* (Dwyfor Meirionnydd); Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport
- 48. Michelle Brown ¶(North Wales)
- 50. Gareth Bennett ¶ (South Wales Central)
¶ Originally elected as a UKIP AM.
* Originally elected as a Plaid Cymru AM.
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. Due to the lack of an intellectual base, they’ve been unable to set out a coherent policy vision beyond a populist anti-immigration and anti-foreigner platform. In August 2018, the party re-adopted its policy to abolish the Welsh Assembly and return Wales to direct rule from London. They’re no longer an official party group in the Senedd, having been reduced from an original group of seven AMs elected in 2016 to just one.
UKIP/Neil Hamilton has been placed behind an indefinite “cordon sanitaire” on Senedd Home – explained here in more detail.
- 42. Neil Hamilton (Mid & West Wales)
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 Minister
The WNP launched in early 2020 as a splinter from Plaid Cymru following squabbles by a minority of members over the direction of Plaid and its policy priorities. Nominally neither left or right-wing, the party is set to become a populist Anglophone vehicle to the more liberal-minded Plaid Cymru.
- 52. Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central)+
+ Suspended from the Plaid Cymru group on September 27th 2017, which was made permanent on 16th January 2018. Sat as an Independent between September 27th 2017 and February 12th 2020.