A harbor or harbour is a sheltered body of water where ships and barges can be docked. The term harbor is used interchangeably with port, a man-made facility built for loading and unloading vessels and dropping off and picking up passengers. Ports include one or more harbors. Alexandria Port in Egypt is an example of a port with two harbors. Harbors may be artificial. An artificial harbor can have deliberately constructed breakwaters, sea walls, or jettys or they can be constructed by dredging, which requires maintenance by further periodic dredging. An example of an artificial harbor is Long Beach Harbor, United States, an array of salt marshes and tidal flats too shallow for modern merchant ships before it was first dredged in the early 20th century. In contrast, a natural harbor is surrounded on several sides by prominences of land. Examples of natural harbors include Sydney Harbour and Trincomalee Harbour in Sri Lanka. Artificial harbors are built for use as ports; the oldest artificial harbor known is the Ancient Egyptian site at Wadi al-Jarf, on the Red Sea coast, at least 4500 years old.
The largest artificially created. Other large and busy artificial harbors include: Port of Houston, United States. Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands. A natural harbor is a landform where a part of a body of water is protected and deep enough to furnish anchorage. Many such harbors are rias. Natural harbors have long been of great strategic naval and economic importance, many great cities of the world are located on them. Having a protected harbor reduces or eliminates the need for breakwaters as it will result in calmer waves inside the harbor; some examples are: Port Hercules in Principality of Monaco. For harbors near the North and South Poles, being ice-free is an important advantage when it is year-round. Examples of these include: Hammerfest, Norway. Vardø, Norway. Although the world's busiest port is a hotly contested title, in 2006 the world's busiest harbor by cargo tonnage was the Port of Shanghai; the following are large natural harbors: Harbor Maintenance Finance and Funding Congressional Research Service "Harbor".
New International Encyclopedia. 1905
National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales is the devolved parliament of Wales, with power to make legislation, vary taxes and scrutinise the Welsh Government. The Assembly comprises AMs. Since 2011, Members are elected for five-year terms under an additional members system, in which 40 AMs represent geographical constituencies elected by the plurality system, 20 AMs represent five electoral regions using the d'Hondt method of proportional representation; the largest party in the Assembly forms the Welsh Government. The Assembly was created by the Government of Wales Act 1998, which followed a referendum in 1997; the Assembly had no powers to initiate primary legislation until limited law-making powers were gained through the Government of Wales Act 2006. Its primary law-making powers were enhanced following a Yes vote in the referendum on 3 March 2011, making it possible for it to legislate without having to consult the UK parliament or the Secretary of State for Wales in the 20 areas that are devolved.
Legislation has been introduced by the Assembly Commission which will change the name of the institution from National Assembly for Wales to the Senedd, which may be known as the Welsh Parliament. An appointed Council for Wales and Monmouthshire was established in 1949 to "ensure the government is adequately informed of the impact of government activities on the general life of the people of Wales"; the council had 27 members nominated by local authorities in Wales, the University of Wales, National Eisteddfod Council and the Welsh Tourist Board. A post of Minister of Welsh Affairs was created in 1951 and the post of Secretary of State for Wales and the Welsh Office were established in 1964 leading to the abolition of the Council for Wales; the establishment of the Welsh Office created the basis for the territorial governance of Wales. The Royal Commission on the Constitution was set up in 1969 by Harold Wilson's Labour Government to investigate the possibility of devolution for Scotland and Wales.
Its recommendations formed the basis of the 1974 White Paper Democracy and Devolution: proposals for Scotland and Wales, which proposed the creation of a Welsh Assembly. However, Welsh voters rejected the proposals by a majority of four to one in a referendum held in 1979. After the 1997 general election, the new Labour Government argued that an Assembly would be more democratically accountable than the Welsh Office. For eleven years prior to 1997 Wales had been represented in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom by a Secretary of State who did not represent a Welsh constituency at Westminster. A second referendum was held in Wales on 18 September 1997 in which voters approved the creation of the National Assembly for Wales with a total of 559,419 votes, or 50.3% of the vote. The following year the Government of Wales Act was passed by the United Kingdom parliament, establishing the Assembly. In July 2002, the Welsh Government established an independent commission, with Lord Richard as chair, to review the powers and electoral arrangements of the National Assembly to ensure that it is able to operate in the best interests of the people of Wales.
The Richard Commission reported in March 2004. It recommended that the National Assembly should have powers to legislate in certain areas, whilst others would remain the preserve of Westminster, it recommended changing the electoral system to the single transferable vote which would produce greater proportionality. In response, the British government, in its Better Governance for Wales White Paper, published on 15 June 2005, proposed a more permissive law-making system for the Welsh Assembly based on the use of Parliamentary Orders in Council. In so doing, the Government rejected many of the cross party Richard Commission's recommendations; this has attracted criticism from opposition others. The Government of Wales Act 2006 received Royal Assent on 25 July 2006, it conferred on the Assembly legislative powers similar to other devolved legislatures through the ability to pass Assembly Measures concerning matters that are devolved. Requests for further legislative powers made through legislative competence requests were subject to the veto of the Secretary of State for Wales, House of Commons or House of Lords.
The Act reformed the assembly to a parliamentary-type structure, establishing the Welsh Government as an entity separate from, but accountable to the National Assembly. It enables the Assembly to legislate within its devolved fields; the Act reforms the Assembly's electoral system. It prevents individuals from standing as candidates in regional seats; this aspect of the act was subject to a great deal of criticism, most notably from the Electoral Commission. The Act was criticised. Plaid Cymru, the Official Opposition in the National Assembly from 1999–2007, attacked it for not delivering a fully-fledged parliament. Many commentators have criticised the Labour Party's partisan attempt to alter the electoral system. By preventing regional Assembly Members from standing in constituency seats the party has been accused of changing the rules to protect constituency representatives. Labour had 29 members in the Assembly at the time; the changes to the Assembly's powers were commenced on 4 May 2007, after the election.
Following a referendum on 3 March 2011, the Welsh Assembly gained direct law making powers, without the need to consult Westminster. The Conservative-Liberal coalition government created the Commission on Devolution in Wales
North East England
North East England is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It covers Northumberland, County Durham and Wear, the area of the former county of Cleveland in North Yorkshire; the region is home to three large conurbations: Teesside and Tyneside, the last of, the largest of the three and the eighth most populous conurbation in the United Kingdom. There are three cities in the region: Newcastle upon Tyne, the largest, with a population of just under 280,000. Other large towns include Darlington, Hartlepool, South Shields, Stockton-on-Tees and Washington; the region is hilly and sparsely populated in the North and West, urban and arable in the East and South. The highest point in the region is The Cheviot, in the Cheviot Hills, at 815 metres; the region contains the urban centres of Tyneside and Teesside, is noted for the rich natural beauty of its coastline, Northumberland National Park, the section of the Pennines that includes Teesdale and Weardale.
The regions historic importance is displayed by Northumberland's ancient castles, the two World Heritage Sites of Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, Hadrian's Wall one of the frontiers of the Roman Empire. In fact, Roman archaeology can be found across the region and a special exhibition based around the Roman Fort of Segedunum at Wallsend and the other forts along Hadrian's Wall are complemented by the numerous artifacts that are displayed in the Great North Museum Hancock in Newcastle. St. Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth, Sunderland and St. Pauls in Jarrow hold significant historical value and have a joint bid to become a World Heritage Site; the area has a strong religious past, as can be seen in works such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The work of the 7th-century Cuthbert and Hilda of Whitby were hugely influential in the early church, are still venerated by some today; these saints are associated with the monasteries on the island of Lindisfarne, Wearmouth – Jarrow, the Abbey at Whitby, though they are associated with many other religious sites in the region.
Bede is regarded as the greatest Anglo-Saxon scholar. He worked at the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, translating some forty books on all areas of knowledge, including nature, astronomy and theological matters such as the lives of the saints, his best known work is "The Ecclesiastical History of the English People". One of the most famous pieces of art and literature created in the region is the Lindisfarne Gospels, are thought to be the work of a monk named Eadfrith, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 698; this body of work is thought to have been created in honour of Cuthbert, around 710–720. On 6 June 793 the Vikings arrived on the shores of north-east England with a raiding party from Norway who attacked the monastic settlement on Lindisfarne; the monks fled or were slaughtered, Bishop Higbald sought refuge on the mainland. A chronicler recorded: "On the 8th June, the harrying of the heathen miserably destroyed God's church by rapine and slaughter." There were three hundred years of Viking raids and settlement until William the Conqueror defeated King Harold at Hastings in 1066.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle notes the change from raiding to settlement when it records that in 876 the Vikings "Shared out the land of the Northumbrians and they proceeded to plough and support themselves" The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria extended from the Scottish borders at the Firth of Forth to the north, to the south of York, its capital, down to the Humber. The last independent Northumbrian king from 947–8 was Eric Bloodaxe, who died at the Battle of Stainmore, Westmorland, in 954. After Eric Bloodaxe's death, all England was ruled by the grandson of Alfred the Great. Today the Viking legacy can still be found in the language and place names of north-east England and in the DNA of its people; the name Newcastle comes from the castle built shortly after the conquest in 1080 by Robert Curthose, William the Conqueror's eldest son. North East England has an oceanic climate with narrower temperature ranges than the south of England. Summers and winters are mild rather than hot or cold, due to the strong maritime influence of the North Atlantic Current of the Gulf Stream.
The Met Office operates several weather stations in the region and are able they show the regional variations in temperature and its relation to the distance from the North Sea. The warmest summers in the region are found in Stockton-on-Tees and the Middlesbrough area, with a 1981-2010 July average high of 20.4 °C. Precipitation is low by English standards, in spite of the low levels of sunshine, with Stockton-on-Tees averaging only 574.2 millimetres annually, with the seaside town of Tynemouth recording 597.2 millimetres annually. The summers on the northern coastlines are cooler than in the southern and central inland areas: Tynemouth is only just above 18 °C in July. Further inland, frosts during winter are more common, due to the higher elevations and distance from the sea. After more than 2,000 years of industrial activity as a result of abundant minerals such as salt and coal the chemical industry of the Northeast England is today spread across the whole of the region with pharmaceuticals being produced in the north of the region and fine chemicals spread across the middle of the region and commodity chemicals and petrochemicals on Teessi
2011 Welsh devolution referendum
The Welsh devolution referendum on law-making powers known as the Referendum on the law-making powers of the National Assembly for Wales, was a non-binding referendum held in Wales on 3 March 2011 on whether the Welsh Assembly should have full law making powers in the twenty subject areas where it has jurisdiction. The referendum asked the question: ‘Do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for?’ If a majority voted'yes', the Assembly would be able to make laws, known as Acts of the Assembly, on all matters in the subject areas, without needing the UK Parliament's agreement. If a majority voted'no', the arrangements at the time of the referendum would have continued – that is, in each devolved area, the Assembly would be able to make its own laws on some matters, but not others. To make laws on any of these other matters, the Assembly would have had to ask the UK Parliament to transfer the powers to it. Regulations for the referendum, the powers to be approved or rejected by it, were provided for in the Government of Wales Act 2006.
The results of the referendum were announced on 4 March 2011. Overall, 63.49% voted'yes', 36.51% voted'no'. In 21 of 22 local authorities the vote was'yes', with the exception being Monmouthshire by a slim majority; the overall turnout was 35.2%. First Minister Carwyn Jones, welcoming the result, said: "Today an old nation came of age." In the One Wales coalition agreement on 27 June 2007 the Wales Labour Party and Plaid Cymru made the commitment "to proceed to a successful outcome of a referendum for full law-making powers under Part IV of the Government of Wales Act 2006 as soon as practicable, at or before the end of the Assembly term". The two parties agreed "in good faith to campaign for a successful outcome to such a referendum" and to set up an All-Wales Convention to prepare for such a successful outcome. On 27 October 2007 the First Minister Rhodri Morgan and the Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones appointed Sir Emyr Jones Parry, the retired Permanent Representative from Britain to the United Nations to head the convention.
Sir Emyr stated on 22 November 2007 that he would like to begin to work as soon as possible and hoped to have the report ready by 2009 at the latest. The All Wales Convention reported to the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister on 18 November 2009, it reported. An opinion poll for the convention had found that 47% would vote Yes, 37% would vote No; the report suggested that the Assembly needed to decide before June 2010 whether to trigger a referendum if the vote was to be held before the next Assembly elections. On 2 February 2010 the new First Minister Carwyn Jones, who had succeeded Rhodri Morgan on 9 December 2009, confirmed that a trigger vote would be held on 9 February on whether the Assembly should request a referendum on full law making powers; the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Welsh Conservative Party stated they did not want the referendum to be held on the same day as the 2011 Assembly elections and would abstain from voting to trigger the referendum if this date was not ruled out.
The trigger vote was held in the Assembly on Tuesday 9 February 2010, was approved unanimously across all parties, with 53 out of the 60 AMs voting for it. Under the Government of Wales Act 2006 the First Minister was required to send a letter within two weeks to the Welsh Secretary, who would have 120 days to lay a draft order for a referendum before Parliament, it was expected. On 15 June 2010 Cheryl Gillan, the new Welsh Secretary in the Conservative--Liberal Democrat coalition government at Westminster, announced that the referendum would be held between January and March 2011. Others proposed that it should be held on 5 May 2011, together with both the Assembly elections and the AV referendum, it was agreed that the referendum be held on 3 March 2011, after representations to the Welsh Secretary from the Welsh Government. The draft referendum question submitted by the Welsh Secretary to the Electoral Commission on 23 June 2010 was: At present, the National Assembly for Wales has powers to make laws for Wales on some subjects within devolved areas.
Devolved areas include health, social services, local government and environment. The Assembly can gain further powers to make laws in devolved areas with the agreement of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on a subject by subject basis. If most people vote'yes' in this referendum, the Assembly will gain powers to pass laws on all subjects in the devolved areas. If most people vote'no' the present arrangements, which transfer that law-making power bit by bit, with the agreement of Parliament each time, will continue. Do you agree that the Assembly should now have powers to pass laws on all subjects in the devolved areas without needing the agreement of Parliament first? This wording was, criticised by the Welsh Government. A revised question was released in September 2010: The National Assembly for Wales - what happens at the moment The Assembly has powers to make laws on 20 subject areas, such as agriculture, the environment, housing, local government. In each subject area, the Assembly can make laws on some matters, but not others.
To make laws on any of these other matters, the assembly must ask the UK Parliament for its agreement. The UK Parliament decides each time whether or not the assembly can make these laws; the Assembly cannot make laws on subject areas such as defence, tax or welfare benefits, whatever the result of this vote. If most voters vote'yes' - the Assembly will be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 s
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 313 Members of Parliament, has 249 members of the House of Lords, 18 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 12 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors; the Conservative Party was founded in 1834 from the Tory Party—the Conservatives' colloquial name is "Tories"—and was one of two dominant political parties in the nineteenth century, along with the Liberal Party. Under Benjamin Disraeli it played a preeminent role in politics at the height of the British Empire. In 1912, the Liberal Unionist Party merged with the party to form the Conservative and Unionist Party. In the 1920s, the Labour Party surpassed the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rivals. Conservative Prime Ministers — notably Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher — led governments for 57 years of the twentieth century.
Positioned on the centre-right of British politics, the Conservative Party is ideologically conservative. Different factions have dominated the party at different times, including One Nation Conservatives and liberal conservatives, while its views and policies have changed throughout its history; the party has adopted liberal economic policies—favouring free market economics, limiting state regulation, pursuing privatisation—although in the past has supported protectionism. The party is British unionist, opposing both Irish reunification and Welsh and Scottish independence, supported the maintenance of the British Empire; the party includes those with differing views on the European Union, with Eurosceptic and pro-European wings. In foreign policy, it is for a strong national defence; the Conservatives are a member of the International Democrat Union and the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe and sit with the European Conservatives and Reformists parliamentary group. The Scottish, Northern Irish and Gibraltan branches of the party are semi-autonomous.
Its support base consists of middle-class voters in rural areas of England, its domination of British politics throughout the twentieth century has led to it being referred to as one of the most successful political parties in the Western world. The Conservative Party was founded in the 1830s. However, some writers trace its origins to the reign of Charles II in the 1670s Exclusion Crisis. Other historians point to a faction, rooted in the 18th century Whig Party, that coalesced around William Pitt the Younger in the 1780s, they were known as "Independent Whigs", "Friends of Mr Pitt", or "Pittites" and never used terms such as "Tory" or "Conservative". Pitt died in 1806. From about 1812 on the name "Tory" was used for a new party that, according to historian Robert Blake, "are the ancestors of Conservatism". Blake adds that Pitt's successors after 1812 "were not in any sense standard-bearer's of true Toryism"; the term "Conservative" was suggested as a title for the party by a magazine article by J. Wilson Croker in the Quarterly Review in 1830.
The name caught on and was adopted under the aegis of Sir Robert Peel around 1834. Peel is acknowledged as the founder of the Conservative Party, which he created with the announcement of the Tamworth Manifesto; the term "Conservative Party" rather than Tory was the dominant usage by 1845. The widening of the electoral franchise in the nineteenth century forced the Conservative Party to popularise its approach under Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, who carried through their own expansion of the franchise with the Reform Act of 1867. In 1886, the party formed an alliance with Spencer Compton Cavendish, Lord Hartington and Joseph Chamberlain's new Liberal Unionist Party and, under the statesmen Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Lord Salisbury and Arthur Balfour, held power for all but three of the following twenty years before suffering a heavy defeat in 1906 when it split over the issue of free trade. Young Winston Churchill denounced Chamberlain's attack on free trade, helped organize the opposition inside the Unionist/Conservative Party.
Balfour, as party leader, followed Chamberlain's policy introduced protectionist legislation. The high tariff element called itself "Tariff Reformers" and in a major speech in Manchester on May 13, 1904, Churchill warned their takeover of the Unionist/Conservative party would permanently brand it as: A party of great vested interests, banded together in a formidable confederation. Two weeks Churchill crossed the floor and formally joined the Liberal Party. )He rejoined the Conservatives in 1925.) In December, Balfour lost control of his party, as the defections multiplied. He was replaced by Liberal Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman who called an election in January 1906, which produced a massive Liberal victory with a gain of 214 seats. Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith enacted a great deal of reform legislation, but the Unionists worked hard at grassroots organizing. Two general elections were held in one in January and one in December; the two main parties were now dead equal in seats.
The Unionists had more popular votes but the Liberals kept control with a coalition with the Irish Parliamentary Party. In 1912, the Liberal Unionis
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Alun Hugh Cairns is a Welsh Conservative politician, who became Secretary of State for Wales on 19 March 2016. He was a member of the National Assembly for Wales for the South Wales West region from the 1999 Welsh Assembly Election until 2011, was elected at the 2010 general election as the Member of Parliament for the Vale of Glamorgan. Brought up in Clydach near Swansea, he attended Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontardawe and Ysgol Gyfun Ddwyieithog Ystalyfera and is a fluent Welsh language speaker, his father was a welder for British Steel and his mother was a shop-keeper. At the time of his election to the Welsh National Assembly, Cairns was completing a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wales, specialising in corporate location and inward investment, he had worked for Lloyds Banking Group as a Business Development Consultant before being elected to the National Assembly. Cairns unsuccessfully stood as the Conservative Party candidate for the Westminster Parliament in Gower at the 1997 general election.
First elected to the assembly as AM for South Wales West in 1999, he was re-elected in 2003 and 2007 and served as the party's spokesman on economic development and transport for eight years. In the Third Assembly, he held the education and lifelong learning portfolio and chaired the Assembly's Finance Committee. On 11 July 2007, he became the Shadow Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills in the National Assembly for Wales; as a member of the assembly's economic development and audit committees, he criticised the Welsh Government over a range of issues from transport infrastructure, European regional aid, public spending, the Welsh economy. Cairns has been a vocal opponent of the Scarweather Sands offshore wind farm development near Porthcawl. In September 2008, Cairns admitted that he asked for a National Assembly rule to be "clarified" to determine whether he could claim expenses for a second home in Cardiff. A rule change introduced in late 2006 by the Assembly's House Committee allowed him to claim expenses related to a flat in Cardiff though his main home was reclassified as being situated in the Vale of Glamorgan.
While taking part in BBC Radio Cymru's weekly radio show, Dau o'r Bae, on 13 June 2008, Cairns was asked to apologise on air for referring to Italians as "greasy wops", did so. He subsequently resigned from his post in the Shadow Cabinet on the following day, he was re-appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Local Government on 22 October 2008 after completion of a party investigation. Cairns was the Conservative Party's candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan at the 2005 general election, was re-selected as Parliamentary candidate for the seat in July 2007. Cairns was suspended as the parliamentary candidate while the party carried out an investigation over his radio comments, Cairns was reinstated as the parliamentary candidate on 22 October 2008. Cairns was elected as the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan at the May 2010 general election, gaining the seat from Labour with a majority of 4,307. Cairns is a member of the ‘Curry Club’ group of Conservatives, a dining society set up in 2010 composed of Conservative MPs that were seen as independently-minded though not hostile to the Prime Minister David Cameron.
In 2011 Cairns became co-chairman of the newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Arch Cru Investment Scheme, intended to investigate the facts surrounding Arch Cru investment funds scandal and achieve justice for the victims. He was re-elected in 2015 with an increased majority of 6,880. In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation". According to Parliament's register of interests, Cairns was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who derived an income from renting out property; the Conservative Government responded to the amendment by stating that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it. On becoming Secretary of State for Wales on 19 March 2016, Cairns replaced Stephen Crabb who became Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was appointed to the Privy Council on 22 March.
Cairns supported a Remain vote in the 2016 EU membership referendum. He was once more re-elected to his Vale of Glamorgan seat in the 2017 general election, increased his vote share for the third consecutive time. After re-election, in July 2017, Cairns announced that tolls on the Severn bridges from Wales to England would be abolished by the end of the following year, a move which he said could boost the south Wales economy by about £100m a year. Cairns caused controversy in April 2018 when he announced the Severn Bridge between Wales and England was to be renamed'Prince of Wales Bridge' to mark the 60th anniversary of Prince Charles becoming the Prince of Wales. Cairns defended the decision by responding that a "silent majority" supported the name change, but a poll conducted by YouGov shortly after revealed 34% of respondents to be against the name change and only 17% in favour, while 47% had no strong feelings either way. Cairns has said he supports the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon renewable energy power plant, although he has expressed reservations in regard to the financial viability of the project, stating in 2017 that "none of us would want it to happen if it’s not good value for money for the taxpayer."
Cairns came under criticism in 2018 when reports emerged the government was considering abandoning the project, Plaid Cymru politician Jonathan Edwards referring to Cairns as the "grim reaper of Welsh politics - the bearer of bad news" after Cairns highlighted concerns over the cost of the tidal