Wales referendum, 1997

From Academic Kids

The Wales referendum of 1997 was a pre-legislative referendum held in Wales only over whether there was support for the creation of an assembly for Wales. Unlike the referendum in Scotland, there was no proposal for the assembly to have tax varying powers. The referendum was a manifesto commitment of the Labour Party and was held in their first term after the United Kingdom general election, 1997. This was the second referendum held in Wales over the question of devolution, the first being the Wales referendum, 1979.

One of the factors that made the referendum controversial was that Wales has a much greater immigrant and transient population than Scotland. A previous referendum on devolution, held in 1979, had resulted in a majority against, whereas in Scotland the vote had been in favour. It was generally believed that the Labour government scheduled the referendum as it did because it foresaw the embarrassment of a defeat, and therefor arranged for the Scotland referendum to be held slightly earlier, in the hope that the anticipated result would influence the Welsh result.

Contents

Party support

The Labour party, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru campaigned for the 'Yes' vote. The Conservative party was the only major party to support the 'No' vote.

Results


The referendum was held on September 18, 1997, a week after the referendum in Scotland. In the end, the result was extremely close, and everything hung on voting figures for the last constituency to be announced, which carried the "Yes" vote.

The electorate were asked to indicate whether: '1. I agree that there should be a Welsh Assembly; or 2. I do not agree that there should be a Welsh Assembly'

Option 1 votes Option 1 votes (%) Option 2 votes Option 2 (%) Turnout (%)
559,419 50.3 552,698 49.7 50.1

Government response

In response to the majority voting for Yes, the government passed the Government of Wales Act 1998, creating the Welsh Assembly.

See also

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