Referenda and a National Assembly for Wales
The Devolution Bill for Scotland and Wales was given the royal assent on 31 July 1978 and a referendum was to be held in both countries on Saint David's Day 1979. Shortly after this announcement the 'Wales for an Assembly' campaign was formed under the leadership of the former Labour Member of Parliament, Elystan Morgan. One of the 'No' campaign posters for the 1979 Referendum (52K)
'Yes for Wales' campaign poster, 1979 (39K) The devolutionists had the official support of the Labour Party, the T.U.C., the Liberal Party and Plaid Cymru, although, ideally Plaid Cymru would have preferred the Assembly to have considerabaly more power.
Nearly all Welsh Conservatives were against Devolution as well as six of the Welsh Labour Members of Parliament, notably Neil Kinnock. Part of the 'No' Campaign for the 1979 Referendum (53K)
Letter from Dafydd Wigley (43K)
The referendum was held on 1 March 1979 in Wales and in Scotland. In Wales, 1,119,378 people voted, which represented 58.3% of the total electorate.
Part of the 'Yes' Campaign in 1979 (45K)
Only 11.8% of the electorate voted in favour of devolution and 46.5% against. The Labour government fell soon afterwards and a General Election was held in May 1979 which was won by the Conservative Party under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher.
1979 Referendum
1997 Referendum Poster (48K) The Conservatives were in power for 18 years, but the arguments for devolution did not disappear. Following the Labour Party's victory in 1997 the government published a White Paper, A Voice for Wales , which was a detailed description of the Party's proposals for devolution.
On 18 September 1997 a referendum on the proposals was held. Only 50.3% of the electorate voted, with 552,698 voting against devolution and 559,419 in favour, a majority of 6,721. 'Just say No' poster, 1997 Referendum (22K)
Say YES fro wales poster, 1997 Referendum (24K) The first Assembly Elections were held on 6 May 1999 and on the 26 May the National Assembly for Wales was officially opened in Cardiff Bay.
1979 Referendum   1997 Referendum  
Percentage who voted 58.8% Percentage who voted 50.3%
Number who voted in favour 243,048 Number who voted in favour 559,419
Number who voted against 956,330 Number who voted against 552,698
Majority against 59.4% Majority in favour 0.6%

Disestablishment, Cymru Fydd and Plaid Cymru
Parliament for Wales Campaign
Referenda and a National Assembly for Wales

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