"Women2Win is a fantastic organisation that have provided me with support and guidance throughout my journey. I wouldn’t be stood here today as the first female MP for Wrexham or the first female Conservative MP for Wales, without their help."
Sarah Atherton MP, Wrexham (2019)
Elections for the Welsh Parliament will be held on Thursday 6th May 2021.
The UK is country of nations with their own devolved administrations. These have changed over the last twenty year and Wales’s National Assembly is now a national Parliament with primary law-making powers over every area of Welsh life not specifically reserved to Westminster.
In choosing your way ahead, it’s important to think about the areas of policy and influence which interest you and where you would like to make your mark. Most areas of domestic law and policy are now devolved to the Welsh Parliament but there are exceptions such as (most) benefits, (most) taxation and justice which remain with Westminster.
The second largest party in Wales, the eleven members of the Welsh Conservative Group make up the Official Opposition, led by Paul Davies MS (Member of the Senedd). Only three of our members are women. The current Welsh Government is a minority Labour Government which includes one Liberal Democrat and one Independent.
Only once has the Labour party managed to form a majority government in the Senedd.
We need more MSes to take power and we need many more of them to be women so that our priorities are representative and decisions made on the basis of the widest experience.
The Senedd is made up of 60 MSes: 40 constituencies, as there are for the UK Parliamentary elections, and 20 chosen through a regional list system. Wales is divided into five electoral regions and four MSes are elected for each through a form of proportional representation. There is no legal distinction between the status and duties of constituency and regional MSes.
Constituency candidates are chosen by the members of the Conservative Association for that constituency who attend a selection meeting. Regional candidates are shortlisted by a college of regional officers at a selection meeting and then ranked through a postal vote of the members of the Conservative Association for each constituency in that region.
On election day, voters have two ballot papers: One is the familiar list of candidates and party badges as for UK Parliamentary elections. The other is a list of parties with the names of the regional candidates, in ranked order, below their party name.
To be eligible to put your name forward, you must be an Approved Candidate. This involves submitting an application form and being assessed for a range of competences by an Assessment Board. This is the same process for the UK Parliament and the Senedd; (PABs** and WAABs). If you are unsuccessful first time, you will be given advice on how to improve and you can try again. Don’t give up!
One approved, you will be invited by the Welsh party to apply for seats when they are advertised. As an Approved Candidate, you will also be asked to sign up certain commitments with regard to behaviour and campaigning.
You can get an application form to become an Approved Candidate for the Senedd elections in May from one of our Chairs, Suzy Davies on firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on how to submit your form will be given at the same time.
Women2WinWales is here to help support you with practical advice, training and networks, and even financial support (when we can) - from thinking about taking the plunge right through to election day.
** if you are successful in a UK PAB, you are automatically approved for Senedd elections. Please note that PABs are organised by the party in London rather than Cardiff but the application process is broadly the same.