MPs will be given the chance to speak Welsh in parliamentary debates in the Palace of Westminster for the first time ever this year.
The UK Government, responding to the Commons’ Procedure Committee’s report on the matter, today confirms it will bring forward a motion in Government time enabling MPs to speak in Welsh when the Welsh Grand Committee meets in Westminster.
MPs are currently only permitted to speak Welsh in Westminster’s parliamentary proceedings when the Welsh Affairs select committee is taking evidence.
Making proceedings of the Welsh Grand Committee bilingual means that the Welsh language will be used for short debates, legislative scrutiny and the questioning of ministers in Westminster for the first time ever.
David Lidington, Leader of the House of Commons, said:
Welsh MPs play a vital role in making their constituents’ voices heard in the House of Commons.
Across Whitehall, UK Government ministers are listening and responding – as we are today by promoting the Welsh language in Parliament and its contribution to the cultural diversity of the United Kingdom.
Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said:
I am delighted that MPs will be able to participate in the Welsh Grand Committee through the medium of Welsh for the first time in Westminster.
It is vitally important that the people of Wales are able to hear debates in both languages. I hope that MPs who can speak Welsh will choose to use this service in order to help promote the Welsh language across Parliament.
The cost of the translation services – both interpreters and headsets - will be absorbed within Parliament’s existing budgets, meaning this change takes place at no extra cost to the taxpayer.