Changes at the top as leaders reshuffle their packs


You wait ages for a reshuffle and then three come along at once.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have spent the day changing some of the faces in the cabinet and its shadow.

Most of those involved are household names only if you live with a political anorak, but many will be seen as significant at Westminster - and beyond.

The big loser is Michael Moore, replaced as Liberal Democrat Scottish secretary by Alistair Carmichael. He may have no executive powers but it's an important job in the run-up to next year's referendum on Scottish independence.

As the Huffington Post reports, Mr Carmichael is taking on a job he once believed should be scrapped. Six years ago, he said: "The Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offices should merge to create a department for nations and regions, with a full time seat at the cabinet table."

That was then party policy, tied to the Lib Dems' goal of a federal Britain. The party also wanted to abolish the Department for Business, Industry and Skills, which is also now headed by a Liberal Democrat.

If you're looking for a Welsh angle in today's reshuffles - and unless you've landed on this page by accident, you may well be - an Abercynon-born product of Mountain Ash Comprehensive School, Stephen Williams, has been given a junior minister's job in the Department for Communities and Local Government, the latest in a growing line of Lib Dem MPs to sample coalition government.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has chosen to keep Owen Smith, often tipped for greater things, in the shadow Welsh Secretary's job. Mr Smith is "delighted" to be continuing in the role: "In Ed Miliband we have a strong and determined leader who is taking the fight to David Cameron and his out-of-touch government. Ed has put together a formidable team and in the remaining 20 months before the general election we'll be relentless in our efforts to expose the failure of the Tory-led government to tackle the cost of living crisis and to offer hope to the British people that there is an alternative."

That "formidable team" includes Caerphilly MP Wayne David, who moves from the shadow justice team to become one of two parliamentary private secretaries to the Labour leader. Sometimes dismissed as "bag-carriers", parliamentary private secretaries act as their boss's "eyes and ears" around Westminster, keeping them in touch with backbench opinion.

Mr David was "honoured" by his appointment, issuing a press release with the headline: "Wayne David appointed as Ed Miliband's right hand man".

The leader's new "right-hand man" is certainly on message: " I have known Ed Miliband for a number of years and I can honestly say that he is a man of strength, decency and principle. Labour is fast developing clear policies which offer hope to this country and my job is to help Ed get his message across".

A former Wales Office minister, Mr David has been a parliamentary private secretary before, at the Ministry of Defence. That ended with his resignation, along with several other PPSes as part of a coup against Tony Blair's leadership.

He'll be hoping this spell as a PPS doesn't end with the downfall of a leader.

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

Their Lordships do the lockstep

The House of Lords has been debating plans to give the Welsh government responsibility for raising some of the money it spends.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Life expectancy in the 1950's was only 67, it has now risen to well over 80. With this has risen the expectation re quality of life, hence we now have hip, knee Etc replacements. Heart operations are now the norm, all of which costs hence you either cut your cloth or raise tax in one form or another to pay for it. So whats it going to be?

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    ... the AM's, the opposition parties, have reneged on their duty to the electorate by failing to scrutinise the workings of our administration in Cardiff Bay.

    e.g. one item listed in the budget is

    "Develop and implement climate change, emission prevention, and fuel poverty policy, communications, legislation and regulation"

    At £23 million, is this a devolved responsibility ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    It should also be remembered that it has been his administration that has been dipping their hand into the NHS till along with it's mismanagement that has caused the current situation. It should also be remembered that all other regions have had to deal with the same reductions. WAG appear unable to plan and or deliver a budget for they have got so used to going cap in hand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Did you deliberately misunderstand the point. I am not talking about the cost of running ICU, HDU Etc. I was talking about like for like operations which by their own admission cost more than double in the NHS than they do in the private sector AND the public run sectors in other EU countries. So why does a new hip cost over £12k in the UK and £6.5k in the french equivalent?

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Good news about the extra money for the NHS. However the tone of the BBC coverage shows once again that it is the unquestioning mouth piece of the Dear Leader. Where is the plan for economic growth to end the dependency culture? Nowhere and that is because Welsh Labour can see no further than the public sector.


Comments 5 of 53



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