Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Jones nominated as first minister

Carwyn Jones
Carwyn Jones is expected to announce his new cabinet over the next few days

AMs have nominated new Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones to succeed Rhodri Morgan as first minister of Wales.

He was proposed by Mr Morgan, who has left for the back benches after nearly a decade in the post.

Mr Jones admitted there were difficult economic times ahead but said Wales would be in a strong position to benefit from the recovery when it came.

The Queen has been asked to confirm his appointment, to allow Mr Jones to be sworn in by a senior judge on Thursday.

Mr Morgan's resignation, via e-mail, was formally accepted by the Queen a few hours before AMs voted to install Mr Jones in the top job in Welsh politics.

Mr Jones promised to honour the commitments in Labour's coalition agreement with Plaid Cymru.

"I look forward to working with colleagues on this side of the chamber and indeed on the side opposite," he said.

"There will be times when I look forward to being tested by colleagues opposite and that, of course, is essential in any vibrant democracy.

"There is no doubt there will still be occasions in the future when there will be difficult times ahead both for politicians and politics and indeed for Wales.... I also look to see the assembly grow."


Mr Jones praised Mr Morgan, describing him as "an extremely hard act to follow".

"It will take some getting used to to think of Rhodri as a back-bencher," he said

"He built his political reputation on being a very vocal back bencher (as an MP) and wasn't afraid to criticise the government in years gone by.

Carwyn Jones' family
Carwyn Jones' family watched from the gallery as he was nominated

"I hope, of course, that's something he doesn't repeat in the future," he joked.

"I know that Rhodri will continue to play a very prominent part in this assembly - between now and the assembly elections and indeed beyond that," Mr Jones added.

Deputy First Minister and Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "I look forward to renewing our relationship with you in a different role to ensure that between now and the 2011 (assembly) election that we cooperate and collaborate for the benefit of the people of Wales."

Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne said he did not doubt Carwyn Jones's "personal and political commitment to the job in hand, and to serving Wales".

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams wished the first minister-elect and his family "a peaceful and restful Christmas and look forward to the challenges of the new year".

Carwyn Jones, a barrister by profession, is the AM for Bridgend and has held the posts of rural affairs minister and counsel general in Mr Morgan's administration.

He has pledged to increase spending on education, describing it as the route out of poverty.

Live coverage of the Welsh Assembly

He also hopes to end "perceptions of isolation" in west and north Wales.

As Mr Morgan's resignation has been formally accepted, most special advisers have ceased to hold office, but ministers retain their jobs until an announcement on a new cabinet is made, expected on Thursday or Friday.

Following Mr Morgan's official announcement of his resignation during first minister's questions on Tuesday, leading politicians paid tribute to his achievements in office.

Presiding officer Lord Elis Thomas said Mr Morgan had held the trust of the Welsh people and brought "dignity and your unique trait to the office".

Deputy First Minister and Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said he had shown "great integrity", adding: "There's no doubt his contribution will be recognised by the history books."

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said: "His commitment to Welsh society and political life cannot be questioned."

Nick Bourne, Welsh Conservatives leader, praised Mr Morgan on his "outstanding contribution to Welsh life" and said he looked forward to his sizeable contributions from the back benches.

Mr Morgan said his time in power had elapsed "in the blinking of an eye" but it was "time to hand the baton to my successor".

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