Wales politics

The MP who really does love to be by the seaside

Back in 1997, Labour had 20 MPs for "seaside" constituencies. Today, there are only two of them left - Gordon Marsden in Blackpool and Chris Ruane in the Vale of Clwyd.

Mr Ruane's desire to continue as Rhyl's first Labour MP explains why he has left the opposition whips' office at Westminster - to focus on his constituency.

As Mr Ruane takes his leave, another Welsh Labour MP has begun his climb up the greasy pole. Stephen Doughty, who was elected MP for Cardiff South and Penarth in a by-election last November, has been appointed (unpaid) parliamentary private secretary to shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves.

Ms Reeves, a rising star in Labour circles, said in a press release: "I'm really pleased that Stephen has joined the Labour Treasury team. Stephen has huge experience on both UK and global economic challenges from his time at Oxfam, and he has already made his mark here in parliament speaking up on issues from energy bills to food banks.

"He will also bring a Welsh perspective to the team, which is really important when the Tory-Lib Dem government are causing so much hardship for people across Wales - in stark contrast to the Welsh Labour government which is investing in jobs and getting the economy going again."

Mr Doughty said: "I hope to be able to contribute towards Labour's economic and financial policies in the run up to the next election - ensuring we focus on getting people back into work, putting sustainable growth back into the economy and reforming our banking system.

"I will also be very happy to join Rachel campaigning for the living wage and for us to learn at a UK level from Welsh Labour policies such as the successful jobs growth Wales scheme."

Some will wonder why a shadow cabinet member needs a PPS but with the economy likely to be the key battleground at the next election there will be some interesting times ahead for Wales's newest MP.