The glossary provides definitions for parliamentary terms to help you understand the Parliament and how it works.  The terms are arranged alphabetically so select a letter to find the term you would like to have explained.


National Assembly for Wales

The body (popularly known as the Welsh Assembly) established by the Government of Wales Act 1998 to be the mechanism for Welsh devolution. As an elected, representative assembly, with some legislative functions, it resembles the Scottish Parliament. However, it is also an executive body, with those powers currently delegated to the First Minister and as such it also includes the role that the Scottish Executive plays in Scottish devolution.

negative instrument

A statutory instrument that must be annulled if the Parliament passes a resolution to that effect within 40 days of the instrument being laid. This is generally regarded as the weaker of the two main forms of Parliamentary control over subordinate legislation.


A term used to describe the parties or independent members not represented in the Executive.

Non-Government Bills Unit (NGBU)

The role of the Non-Government Bills Unit (NGBU) is to provide advice, guidance and support to Members interested in formulating legislation by way of a Member’s or Committee Bill. The Unit assists Members and Committees in the formulation of policy, supports Members in developing bill proposals and supports Members and Committees in drafting bills and through the Parliamentary process. It is also responsible for the management of Private Bills and Hybrid Bills.

normal parliamentary week

Under rule 2.2.3 of the Standing Orders, the normal parliamentary week is between the hours of 14:30 and 17:30 on Monday, 09:30 and 17:30 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 09:30 and 12:30 on Friday. The Parliament can meet, generally, on any sitting day during these periods. A meeting of the Parliament may continue beyond these times under certain circumstances (rules 2.2.4-2.2.6 of the Standing Orders). The Presiding Officer may convene the Parliament on other dates and at other times in an emergency.

Northern Ireland Assembly

The body established under the Northern Ireland (Elections) Act 1998 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998, following the 1998 Good Friday agreement (also known as the Belfast agreement), as the mechanism for devolution in Northern Ireland. Before devolution was fully implemented by ministerial order in December 1999, it was called the New Northern Ireland Assembly. The Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended from 14 October 2002 until 7 May 2007. During this period arrangements were made under the Northern Ireland Act 2006 for Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to meet in another forum, known as The Assembly. Full power was restored to the devolved institutions on 8 May 2007

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