Wales politics

Welsh Questions: David Jones denies hostility to assembly laws

Welsh Secretary David Jones has denied that he is hostile to new laws passed by the Welsh assembly.

Mr Jones was answering questions from MPs in the Commons for the first time in his new role.

There have been growing tensions between the Labour government in Cardiff and the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in Westminster.

Mr Jones said ministers were fully committed to the "respect agenda" between the UK and Welsh governments.

'Administrative reasons'

That was the term used by Prime Minister David Cameron to describe respecting the wishes of the devolved administrations.

Mr Jones added that he was also very hopeful a new relationship would develop not just between the two governments but also between Parliament and the assembly.

He had been challenged by Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith on his views about devolution.

Mr Smith said: "Can he clear up his attitude to devolution - does he think it is a good thing for Wales?"

Mr Jones responded by saying that was "something that is developing but it could be good for Wales".

Mr Smith said his reply was hardly a ringing endorsement.

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.

Several Labour MPs accused Mr Jones of trying to block new assembly laws.

But he said referring a Bill to reform local government byelaws to the Supreme Court was neither disrespectful or hostile but for administrative reasons.

In response to a question by Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb about improvements to the North Wales railway, Mr Jones said he and the Welsh government are currently in discussions regarding the electrification of the north Wales mainline.

"105 miles of rail, which will be a huge benefit to north Wales" Mr Jones added.

Questions: Alas Smith and Jones

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