Wales politics

Carwyn Jones' 'pride in governing differently in Wales'

First Minister Carwyn Jones has told Labour's annual conference of his pride in governing differently in Wales.

He quoted Welsh NHS founder Aneurin Bevan on socialism as he said his assembly government aimed to protect "the people's priorities".

Mr Jones told the Manchester gathering he wanted to safeguard frontline public services" from UK government "ravages".

He also said he planned to discuss issues such as "fair funding" for Wales soon with new party leader Ed Miliband.

Mr Jones was making his first speech to the Labour conference after becoming Welsh party leader and head of the assembly government last December, when he replaced the retiring Rhodri Morgan.

The Bridgend AM - whose party is in coalition with Plaid Cymru in the assembly government - pledged that even in such "tough times" Welsh Labour would "remain true to its radical values".

"Aneurin Bevan once told this conference that 'the language of priorities is the religion of socialism'." he said.

"Well, we have always spoken the language of priorities in Cardiff Bay. And that's why we will seek to protect the people's priorities in frontline public services from the ravages of ConDem excesses.

Free hospital parking

"In short... we do it differently in Wales. We do it our way - and we make no apologies for that."

Mr Jones said Welsh Labour remained committed to comprehensive education, no free schools, a market-free NHS, with free prescriptions and free hospital parking.

Meanwhile, shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain attacked proposals by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government to reduce the number of MPs.

Mr Hain claimed that would "destroy the fairness at the heart of our parliamentary democracy" and it was both "grossly unfair to Labour... and blatantly unfair to Wales".

There are currently 40 MPs in Wales, and there have been suggestions that the total could be cut to below 30.

The Neath MP said: "It is also grotesquely unfair to local communities, abolishing independent public inquiries: Whitehall just imposing new constituencies from the centre and depriving communities of their traditional rights.

"Over the generations, boundary commissions have worked impartially, taking proper account of local views, of community identity, of rurality and sparsity.

"The government have abandoned this fair, practical and sensible system for a new one that is unfair, impractical and arrogant."

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites