Both Wales and Scotland have devolved governments, part of Labour’s constitutional reform package, and their current make-up politically is:

The 2004 Welsh Assembly:

Party Total seats + or – 1999
Labour 30 + 2
Plaid Cymru 12 – 5
Conservatives 11 + 2
Liberals 6
Other 1 + 1

Total Assembly members: 60. Labour received 50% of all seats. To gain a working majority within the Assembly, Labour have to bring on board at least one other AM (Assembly Member) from the other parties. How much influence this will give the ‘one other’ is difficult to ascertain but such influence for a few is one of the criticisms of proportional representation.

The Scottish Parliament of 2004:

Party Total seats out of 129 + or – 1999
Labour 50 – 6
Scots Nationals 27 – 8
Conservatives 18 Same
Liberals 17 Same
Green Party 7 + 6
Socialist Party 6 + 5
Others* 4 *

* = will vary election from election to election depending on immediate national circumstances. In 2003, candidates won from the Senior Citizens Unity Party and the ‘Save Stobhill Hospital Party’.

Labour are the dominant party with 50 MSP’s. But with 129 candidates they are some way off of the majority needed for a majority rule and they need to work with other parties to push through legislation. Though many felt that this was one of the main failings of proportional representation (the creation of coalition governments – or a party governing with the support of others), in Scotland many acts pertinent to Scotland have been voted into legislation and the fear of parties refusing to co-operate with others has failed to materialise. However, such is the impact of proportional representation – in the 2001 general election, using FPTP, Labour was the clear winner in Scotland.