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Use of languages other than English

21.3Subject to the exceptions below relating to the use of Welsh in committees, speeches in the Chamber and in other proceedings must be made in English;1 quotation in another language has been allowed on occasion, though a translation should be provided.2

Since 1996, increasing freedom to use the Welsh language in committees has been allowed. The resolution of the House of 1 March 2017 provides that, ‘whilst English is and should remain the language of this House, the use of Welsh be permitted in parliamentary proceedings of Select Committees and of the Welsh Grand Committee held in Wales and at Westminster’, with the Official Report recording both the Welsh language contributions and an English translation, subject to reasonable notice being given of the proposed use of Welsh and to a power of the Chair to require points of order to be in English.3


  1. 1. HC Deb (1957–58) 583, c 1146; ibid (1981–82) 18, c 290; ibid (2001–02) 380, c 75.
  2. 2. HC Deb (1957–58) 583, c 1146; ibid (1979–80) 978, c 136; ibid (1987–88) 119, c 400; HC Deb (23 October 2007) 465, c 231; ibid (1 March 2016) 606, c 839; for examples of contributions in British Sign Language, see ibid (16 March 2017) 623, c 543 and ibid (4 July 2018) 644, c 303.
  3. 3. Votes and Proceedings, 1 March 2017. This followed earlier resolutions of 5 June 1996 (CJ (1995–96) 390), allowing the use of Welsh in committee proceedings in Wales, subject to certain conditions set out in the Third Report from the Select Committee on Procedure (HC 96 (1995–96)), and of 5 March 2001 in which the House agreed to that Committee's further recommendation that witnesses before select committees at Westminster should be able to give evidence in Welsh (CJ (2000–01) 176; Procedure Committee, First Report, HC 47 (2000–01)). The authority to speak in Welsh under these resolutions goes beyond the occasional pragmatic arrangements made in select committees for non-English speaking witnesses to speak in another language, with their words translated by an interpreter, in that where the terms of the resolutions have been met (i) both Members and witnesses have a right to speak in Welsh, and (ii) since the 2017 resolution, the words spoken in Welsh as well as the interpreter's words are transcribed and form part of the formal record.