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The Welsh Assembly twenty years on - new study shows how it all began

Twenty years since the formation of the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, author John Gilbert Evans has written a book on devolution, and the contribution of the Labour party to the devolution process, called Labour and Devolution in Wales.

Devolution in Wales divided opinion across the political spectrum and remains a hot topic of debate in political circles. Labour and Devolution in Wales places the debate in context, and has an introductory chapter on the demands for a Secretary of State and a Parliament during the period 1886 to 1979.

Author John Gilbert Evans was an active member of the Labour Party in the 1960s and 1970s, and has an understanding of how the Party is likely to respond when faced with further demands for devolution of government. John Gilbert Evans said:

“There was a need to record why devolution emerged as an issue within the Labour Party so soon after the referendum in 1979 and why the party succeeded in implementing its policy.”

Labour and Devolution in Wales begins with an overview of events, from the founding of Cymru Fydd (Young Wales) in 1886 to the referendum in 1979. In the sections on the period 1983 to 1998, there are detailed discussions of deliberations and debates on devolution within the Labour Party. Issues discussed include the reasons for the resumption of the debate so soon after 1979, the decision to establish an Assembly and its functions, why the proposal succeeded in a referendum, and how the devolved government was to be funded.

“The establishment of an Assembly was a major change in government administration, and this change may lead to further major developments in the future,” said John Gilbert Evans.