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.

David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    ' I suppose a background in Oxfam is better than the usual trade union affiliations. '
    Having attended the Welsh NHS 'Parliament', I found the FTOs of the Welsh TUs a fairly impressive bunch, albeit cynical. They obviously follow politics and the law, and are exposed to the black arts of persuasion and negotiation. You could do a lot worse (e,g, Eton, Oxford then an MP's researcher).

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    This new bod is my MP, heaven help us. I suppose a background in Oxfam is better than the usual trade union affiliations. I find Ms. Reeves' statement on the Welsh economy not much more than political posturing. The economy will grow 'organically' or not at all, not helped by certain builders heading for the exit. That is if they don't want to build any of the 45k houses proposed round Cardiff.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    #6 'Its no longer an O-Level. '
    Quite. Why my own 'O' level French was a travesty of proof of knowledge of French culture it was still an exam that had to be passed, not a certificate of attendance in our new Everyone must have Prizes system. So, what is the current piece of paper worth as proof of immersion in Welsh culture, still less of commitment to it??
    Democracy is about voter-numbers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    You need to read up on the latest educaqtion trends. Its no longer an O-Level. Wales has a culture other than language. You just choose to target the langauge that is alien to you. Its an attitude that Cecil Rhodes also had.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    'People are beginning to realise that the South East of England pulls the strings.'
    Do people realise that the population of Wales is about that of South East London.
    The population of those who have a culture based on Welsh speaking (as against those who passed O-level and haven't spoken it since) is less than the population of Southend-on-Sea. (Culture based on Kiss-me-Quick hats and chips.


Comments 5 of 9



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