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Carwyn Jones unveils three new faces in Welsh cabinet

13 May 11 13:57
Lesley Griffiths, John Griffiths and Huw Lewis

Carwyn Jones has announced his team of ministers in the new Welsh Government, including three new cabinet faces.

Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths is promoted from a deputy minister to health minister, replacing Edwina Hart, who goes to enterprise.

Also promoted to the cabinet are Huw Lewis, who takes over housing, regeneration and heritage, and John Griffiths to environment.

The Welsh Assembly Government has also been renamed the Welsh Government.

The old title had been criticised for blurring the distinction between the assembly as a legislature and the executive.

Leighton Andrews stays on as education minister, Carl Sargeant keeps his job at local government and Jane Hutt remains finance minister.

Mr Jones was re-instated as first minister after leading Labour to victory at last week's assembly election.

But the party fell one seat short of the outright majority it wanted. Mr Jones has said he will continue talks with opposition parties in a bid to avoid defeats in the Senedd.

A spokesman said the name change would be an "evolutionary process" and the government was conscious of costs.

Three deputy ministers have been appointed: Gwenda Thomas is re-appointed deputy minister for children and social services, Jeff Cuthbert takes responsibility for skills and Alun Davies has been appointed deputy minister for agriculture, food, fisheries and European programmes.

A government spokesman said Mr Davies would be a deputy in Mrs Hart's portfolio.

Responsibility for policy on the Welsh language will sit with the education minister.


The first minister said: "We will work tirelessly to improve the delivery of public services in Wales and create opportunities for everyone as we fight to protect Wales from the challenging financial and economic situation we are in.

"At the heart of all we do will be our determination to fight for jobs and grow the Welsh economy.

"Ours is an ambitious, positive vision of the nation we can become. In everything we do we will stand up for Wales and lead our country forward with ambition."

The counsel general, the government's chief legal officer, will be announced next week and will be an external appointment, not an AM.

Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan said: "I look forward to working constructively, with mutual respect, with Carwyn Jones and his new cabinet to get the best deal for Wales."

Interim Conservative assembly leader Paul Davies said: "The deck chairs have been reorganised and the usual suspects have returned, but it is critical we now see an end to the mistakes."

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said: "It is of concern to me and many people working across rural Wales that agriculture and rural affairs is no longer seen as important enough to merit a cabinet position".

But NFU Cymru president Ed Bailey welcomed the appointment of Alun Davies as deputy minister for agriculture, saying the former chair of the rural development committee had "considerable experience" and a good relationship with the farming community.

Plaid AM Jocelyn Davies, a deputy minister in the last government, said: "Labour failed to win a majority at the Welsh general election which will make passing legislation problematic. Plaid Cymru will offer constructive opposition whilst this government arrangement exists."

Shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain said: "This is a strong team that contains the right mix of experience and new faces."

Of the three new cabinet faces, Lesley Griffiths has been Wrexham AM since May 2007 and previously deputy minister for science, innovation and skills.

Before her political career, Ms Griffiths, a mother of two, worked as a medical secretary at Wrexham Maelor Hospital for 20 years.

Newport East AM John Griffiths, 54, takes over the environment brief from Jane Davidson, who stood down at the election.

He was elected in 1999 and previous deputy ministerial positions include education, health and economid development. The former councillor is married with two sons.

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney AM Huw Lewis, who stood against Carwyn Jones for the Welsh Labour leadership in 2009, is the former deputy minister for children.

The former chemistry teacher and father-of-two from Aberfan, 47, has previously held posts including government whip, and deputy minister for education, social justice, communities and regeneration.

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