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Devolution in Wales Claims and Responses, 1937-1979 by John Gilbert Evans

Devolution in Wales Claims and Responses, 1937-1979


Devolution in Wales Claims and Responses, 1937-1979 by John Gilbert Evans

1937-1979 was a distinctive period in the political history of Wales. It began with a demand by MPs from all parties that a secretary of state be appointed, and ended in 1979 with the referendum on a Welsh assembly, the 'end of an era' in the words of Lord Cledwyn. This book shows how devolution was an issue in Welsh politics during the period under review, how British governments responded to devolutionists' demands, and how much was eventually conceded. Early on, two important developments were the setting up in 1949 of the Council for Wales and Monmouthshire and the appointment in 1951 of a minister for Welsh Affairs. Significantly the Council recommended in 1957 that a secretary of state be appointed and Labour acted on that proposal in 1964. The book examines the changing pattern of Labour thinking with regard to Wales and also the various nationalist challenges that threatened its dominance in the 1960s and 1970s. The referendum on the Labour government's devolution proposals is seen as bringing to an end a period in which both Labour and Conservative governments had been forced into a consideration of Welsh matters, and had been made to think about the precise way in which Wales should be administered within the British system.

Reviews attractively produced tome. All these seminal themes, and others, are competently analysed by the author. His research, undertaken mainly in the first half of the 1980s, was thorough, embracing archival sources, newspapers and journals, official and party publications and a wide range of secondary literature. The conclusions he reaches are judicious and penetrating. This volume must be welcomed as an authoritative, readable account, well accessible to the general reader, the student and the professional academic alike.

J. Graham Jones, PlanetA The last decade has witnessed a revival of interest in the history of Welsh devolution, and Mr. Evans's study on the period from 1937 to 1979 is a valuable and important addition to the growing literature in the ever-developing devolution story.A Andrew Edwards, Welsh History Review 24 Part 1

About the Author

John Gilbert Evans is retired. He was formerly Head of Educational Studies at the University of Wales, Newport, and Chairman of governors, Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th July 2006


John Gilbert Evans

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University of Wales Press


174 pages


Political structure & processes



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