‘Llywydd, First Minister, and Members of the Senedd, it is a pleasure to be with you today, and I congratulate you on your recent election.
You have been entrusted to be the voice of the people of Wales – to represent their interests when decisions that affect their everyday lives are debated and decided within these walls.
When I was here for the last opening in 2016, I noted that the Fifth Assembly would mark a significant development in the history of devolution in Wales.
Since then, further measures have been taken to strengthen the foundations of your Parliamentary democracy. The Wales Act 2017 established this parliament on a new basis, and you have used this legislation to help the public better understand your work, and to include more people in the democratic process.
As a result, 2 this parliament is now recognised in law as Senedd Cymru, or the Welsh Parliament. The name reflects this institution’s evolution over its 22 years into one with law-making powers over a wide range of areas that are central to Welsh life, and the ability to vary taxes. It demonstrates your status as a national parliament, working on behalf of the people of Wales.
You are also reaching out to every generation and the establishment of the first Welsh Youth Parliament has provided another opportunity for the voices of young people to be heard, enabling them to make a valuable contribution to the Senedd’s work.
You are also to be commended for your innovation. This was the first of the United Kingdom’s legislatures to hold a formal virtual meeting. The fact that all parties showed a determination that you should continue to meet is commendable, and testament to your commitment to scrutinise the Government, on behalf of the people of Wales.
I have spoken before about how recent times have, in many ways, brought us closer together. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who have risen so magnificently to the challenges of the last 18 months – 3 from key workers to volunteers, who have done so much to serve their communities. They are shining examples of the spirit for which the Welsh people are so renowned, a spirit which I have personally encountered so many times.
It is a source of pleasure that both The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, together with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have had homes in Wales, and experienced its very special sense of community.
The Welsh people have much to be proud of and over the next five years, I am sure you will continue to be inspired by their indomitable spirit, as you represent the interests of Wales and its people, make laws for Wales, and hold the Welsh Government to account.
There are many challenges ahead as you work together to promote the well-being of the people of Wales, and support the recovery effort. The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and I extend our warmest good wishes to you for the Sixth session of this Parliament, and hope you have every success with your endeavours. Diolch o gallon.’