Manifesto Policy Explainer Devolved Nations

As the United Kingdom goes to the polls on 4 July the picture for the Devolved Nations has been one of great intrigue. Each of the three Devolved Nations have seen some form of leadership change in the last year and further changes may not be out of the question post election.

This year saw Wales and Scotland marking 25 years of devolution, settlements which have deepened over time; Northern Ireland also saw the formation of a power-sharing executive under the Belfast Agreement a quarter of a century ago and has accrued new powers since.


In Scotland, a fierce battle is expected to take place between the SNP and Scottish Labour. The SNP currently holds 43 out of the 59 Scottish seats at Westminster. However, Scottish Labour are now polling ahead of the SNP and are expected to gain seats in key battleground areas such as the Central Belt and Glasgow.

Although the UK General Election will be the key focus for parties in Scotland in the next few weeks, there is the small matter of the 2026 Holyrood Elections and the UK General Election will likely offer some insights into how Scotland is feeling towards each Party.

With the promise of Labour’s manifesto pledge of GB Energy being located in Scotland, the results in areas such as Glasgow, Aberdeen and the Highlands and Islands will be of particular interest, as discussion over the GB Energy Headquarters picks up momentum.


Out of all of the devolved nations, Wales has remained a constant for the Labour party, and this is widely expected to remain the case. Similar to Scotland, Wales will also be going to the polls in 2026, therefore the UK General Election also represents opportunities for parties to attempt to garner momentum ahead of 2026.

Post election will be particularly interesting for Wales as we approach Budget time. Vaughan Gething, who recently lost a Senedd confidence vote in his leadership, could well struggle to gain support for Budget commitments. At present Welsh Government does not hold a majority and therefore is reliant on support from other parties such as Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, who have both said they will not support the Budget as it stands.

Further devolution to Wales remains a topic up for discussion and will be an area to be monitored in the years ahead.

Northern Ireland

Maintaining a stable Executive and Assembly will be a key priority for the incoming government in the United Kingdom.

In the 2019 election, four local parties took all 18 seats. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) had the highest number of MPs with eight, followed by Sinn Féin with seven, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) with two, and the Alliance Party with one.

Across the Northern Irish economy, aspects of a potential Labour Government’s closer EU cooperation on certain policy areas have been welcomed by some and could signal the start of closer collaboration between Westminster and Stormont.

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