Wales politics

Cabinet reshuffle: David Jones promoted to Welsh secretary

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

David Jones has been promoted to Welsh secretary in David Cameron's cabinet reshuffle.

The Clwyd West MP said he was honoured to take over from Cheryl Gillan, who returns to the back benches.

He had served under her as a junior minister in the Wales Office since the coalition came to power in 2010.

It is a victory for Welsh Tories, who wanted a successor to Mrs Gillan, whose constituency is in Buckinghamshire, to be an MP with a Welsh seat.

She said it had been a "great privilege to serve in the cabinet".

A source close to her said she was very disappointed to be leaving the post.


Describing himself as a "proud Welshman", Mr Jones said: "Like most Welsh people, I have a huge ambition to see the quality of life in Wales flourish and prosper.

"As secretary of state, I will be making it my business to ensure that the efforts of the Wales Office are concentrated to that end."

Administrations in London and Cardiff must make every effort to work together, he said.

"I therefore intend to offer to the Welsh government my department's fullest cooperation in working to improve the lives of people in Wales," he added.

"In return, I would hope and expect that the first minister and his Cabinet will work closely with us to achieve that aim."

His first phone call was to the Conservative leader in the Welsh assembly, Andrew RT Davies, then to First Minister Carwyn Jones.

Mr Davies thanked Mrs Gillan and cited a UK government pledge to upgrade railways in south Wales and the passage of last year's referendum to give the assembly direct law-making powers as her successes.

Mr Davies said: "I now look forward to continuing a close relationship with David Jones, who I know will do an excellent job in the role of secretary of state for Wales."

Mr Jones is the 16th secretary of state and the first to have been an AM, having sat in the assembly from 2002 to 2003.

Liverpool fan

A solicitor and Liverpool FC fan, he was elected as the MP for Clwyd West in 2005 and increased his majority at the last election.

Labour First Minister Mr Jones welcomed the new Welsh secretary and urged him to honour the prime minister's "respect agenda" between London and Cardiff.

The first minister said: "We are in the serious business of delivering for the people of Wales during these extremely difficult economic times. Nothing should deflect either government from this important task.

"To enable this to happen, we need a Wales Office and a secretary of state that shares our aspiration and is prepared to 'bang the drum' for Wales around the Cabinet table. We hope that this will happen."

Opponents in Westminster said the Welsh secretary's first act should be to drop a Wales Office white paper into changing the way the AMs are represented.

Labour says the matter should be decided by the assembly, not parliament.

Shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith said: "Even more important, however, will be for David Jones to show leadership on the issues that affect people's everyday lives in Wales: jobs, living standards and public investment."

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said: "I remain to be convinced that there will be any change in Wales' influence at the cabinet table."

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said: "The test for him now is to make sure that Wales is properly represented around the cabinet table."

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