Welsh Secretary David Jones makes economy top priority

David Jones David Jones was a Wales Office junior minister before his promotion to the top job

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The new Welsh secretary says boosting the economy is at the top of his priorities.

David Jones said he would work towards more co-operation between Westminster and the Welsh government saying that relationship was essential to ensure economic growth.

Mr Jones told the BBC that he had already had a "very positive reception" from First Minister Carwyn Jones.

"My priority is the economy," he told BBC's Good Morning Wales programme.

Mr Jones said the post of Welsh secretary was "vitally important" adding people in Wales "deserve to have good representation at the cabinet table".

Viewpoint by Vaughan Roderick, BBC Wales Welsh affairs editor

It's not the appointment everybody in the assembly would've wanted.

Not that everyone doubts David Jones' ability or talents as a politician but he's not seen as part of that Welshing-up project that Nick Bourne had in the Conservative Party.

He's seen as someone who has expressed doubts over devolution, although he denies suggestions he didn't really enjoy his short time as an AM in Cardiff Bay.

It's not the appointment that everyone would've wanted, but I think you'd be hard pressed to say people would be tearing their hair out.

It's an appointment people can live with.

I think it's significant he has a Welsh seat - because David Cameron thought it was important.

It has always been an easy stick to beat the Conservative party with.

The other parties like nothing better than painting the Conservatives as an alien English party in Wales - it's the party of the squire and the church rather than the party of the people.

So the fact he has a Welsh seat is an important move.

He said his appointment marked a fresh start to improve relations between the Welsh and UK governments.

"We've turned over a new leaf," he said.

"I think it's essential that the two administrations do work very closely together. People in Wales would feel extremely let down if they didn't see the two governments working together to try and improve the Welsh economy."

He said he got on "extremely well" with the leader of the Conservative group at the assembly, Andrew Davies.

However, he would not be drawn on his past opinions on devolution.

"What we're at now is probably the most difficult economic time that we've ever faced," he said.

"The devolution settlement is, of course, settled. What we've now got, of course, is the Silk Commission, which is looking at modifications to that settlement."

Mr Jones said he would not comment on possible findings from the Silk Commission.


"The Silk Commission has not reported yet, I don't think it would be right or proper for me to seek to second guess what its recommendations are likely to be," he said.

"All that I can say is the members of the commission are highly respected and I'm sure the recommendations it comes up with will be sensible and will be beneficial for not only for Wales but for the United Kingdom."

He also said he would "give consideration" to the Green Paper on the way AMs are elected.

Mr Jones added: "I'd like to correct Vaughan - I had an absolutely splendid time in the assembly. I wasn't there very long, but I think it's quite wrong of him to say I didn't enjoy it, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience."

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