The end of the twentieth century witnessed a major change in the structure of the governmental framework of the United Kingdom. During the latter half of the twentieth century, pressure had built up in Scotland, and to a lesser extent in Wales, for policy making to be made by bodies closer to the people, rather than being centralized in London (see, e.g., Birch 1977; O’Neill 2004; Jefferson 2011). A scheme of devolution was recommended by a Royal Commission (the Kilbrandon Commission) in 1973. There was an ultimately unsuccessful attempt by the Labour government of 1974–9 to create a Scottish parliament and a somewhat less powerful Welsh assembly. The Labour government returned in 1997, with a large parliamentary majority and a manifesto commitment to implement the policy, was successful in its attempts to achieve devolution. It extended beyond Scotland and Wales to Northern Ireland, which had experience of its own legislature, having had a parliament from 1922 to 1972. Following referendums in Scotland, Wales (Norton 2010d, pp. 275–6) and, in a somewhat different context, Northern Ireland (Norton 2010d, pp. 287–9; Walker 2012, pp. 146–9), powers were devolved from the centre to these three parts of the United Kingdom.
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