Welsh Secretary recalled for vote that won't take place

If it's Monday, it must be Westminster. Or possibly Ho Chi Minh City.

Welsh Secretary David Jones - recalled from Japan for a House of Commons vote that won't now happen - is now on his way back to Asia.

Mr Jones flew home at the weekend after the collapse of all-party talks on press regulation amid Conservative fears that the prime minister could be defeated over plans for a new newspaper watchdog.

But this morning's all-party deal means his vote is no longer crucial and he is now - after a brief stopover that included a Radio Wales live broadcast - heading to Vietnam to resume his trip.

He said: "While I was very disappointed to miss the Philippines leg of the visit to Asia, I am looking forward to resuming the mission and completing the visits to Vietnam and Hong Kong as planned.

"My activities here will strengthen bi-lateral relationships and most importantly, fly the flag for British businesses and universities in East Asia.

"The UK education sector, especially Welsh universities, values international partnerships, and the links between us and Vietnam are already very strong. They are increasingly important in respect of research and innovation, and, during this visit, we are eager to identify and promote additional partnerships between universities in Asia and the UK.

"In Hong Kong, I will have the further opportunity to promote investment opportunities for businesses in the UK . Hong Kong is a major business partner for us and I will be seeking to do all I can to help open the doors for Welsh businesses looking to pursue opportunities to expand and thrive in this important international market."

Earlier today, we approached the Wales Office to ask for an interview with the secretary of state only to be told he was in "back-to-back meetings". These must have been arranged at pretty short notice, given that he was not scheduled to be in the UK today. Mr Jones was in fact on his way to the airport.

We don't know the cost of the abortive trip yet but Labour MP Chris Bryant has said the decision to recall Mr Jones was a waste of money. Let's hope the in-flight movies extend beyond Groundhog Day.