Wales politics

Wales Office: Lib Dem Baroness Randerson made minister

Baroness Randerson, a former minister in the Welsh assembly, has become the first Liberal Democrat minister at the Wales Office.

The former Cardiff Central AM became parliamentary under secretary as part of the UK government reshuffle.

She said it was "a tremendous honour and privilege" to represent her party in the coalition government.

Conservative Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb also becomes a junior Wales Office minister.

The changes follow the promotion on Tuesday of David Jones from junior minister to Welsh secretary, replacing Cheryl Gillan.

Jenny Randerson, a former Cardiff councillor, was an AM from 1999 to 2011, when she was created a life peer.

She has already had experience of serving in a coalition government, although that was as a member of the Welsh Labour-Lib Dem administration from 2000-2003.

She said: "I am absolutely delighted to be appointed as a parliamentary under secretary.

"It is a tremendous honour and privilege to be a Welsh Liberal Democrat representative in the coalition government.

"As a former Assembly Member, Welsh government minister and a committed devolutionist, I am particularly looking forward to developing the working relationship between the Welsh government and the Wales Office to ensure that we all work together to enhance the lives of the people of Wales."

Image caption Stephen Crabb had been tipped as a possible Welsh secretary

Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said: "I have often said that it is important for there to be Welsh Liberal Democrat representation in the Wales Office so I am of course delighted to hear the news that Baroness Randerson is to join the team as a parliamentary under secretary of state".

She said the new minister "has been a leading voice on important Welsh issues and has time and time again ensured that Welsh Liberal Democrat beliefs have been strongly represented in Westminster. I am confident that she will continue this good work now she is part of the Wales Office."

Mr Crabb will keep his role as a Conservative whip in the government reshuffle, but neither he nor Baroness Randerson will be paid for the Wales Office jobs.

The Tories' leader in the assembly, Andrew RT Davies, said: "Stephen is an incredibly capable MP and I am delighted that this appointment has been made.

"I know he has performed extremely well in his role as a government whip and today's announcement is a natural step forward.

"With yesterday's appointment of David Jones as Welsh secretary, the Wales Office is superbly placed to maintain the hard work and determination we have seen in recent years."

Labour shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith said after Mr Crabb's appointment that it was a "highly unusual and unsatisfactory state of affairs".

Mr Smith said: "It looks to me as though Wales has only been considered at the fag-end of David Cameron's reshuffle and when they did look at it they found they'd run out of money for a full-time junior minister at the Wales Office".

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards congratulated both new ministers on their appointments, and praised Baroness Randerson for her assembly experience.

But he said it meant the Welsh Lib Dems were now "fully signed up partners" to the UK coalition.


He added: "There are many important issues that they, and David Jones as Secretary of State, now need to deliver on such as tackling the chronic underfunding of Wales and delivering a legislative slot for the second part of the Silk Commission."

Clwyd West MP Mr Jones was promoted in David Cameron's first major reshuffle since forming the coalition government in 2010.

Former Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan has returned to the backbenches.

Mr Crabb was elected to parliament in 2005 and was re-elected at the last general election.

He grew up in Haverfordwest in his constituency and is married to Beatrice. They have two young children.

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