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Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK

UK Politics

Davies opts for committee job

Ron Davies, pictured at a Druid ceremony, accepts a new role

After being controversially snubbed for a place in Alun Michael's Welsh Assembly cabinet, the former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies has been offered a job as chairman of the assembly's economic development committee.

Mr Davies had hoped that a post in the cabinet of the assembly which he helped bring into being would complete his political rehabilitation after he resigned as Welsh Secretary following his infamous "moment of madness" on Clapham Common last year.

But on Wednesday First Secretary Alun Michael - the man who replaced him as Welsh secretary following his resignation - refused him a place in his top team.

Mr Davies said he was "surprised and disappointed" by that decision, but that he would continue to try to use his experience to help those members selected for cabinet responsibility.

[ image: Alun Michael: Excluded his predecessor from his cabinet]
Alun Michael: Excluded his predecessor from his cabinet
It emerged on Thursday that Mr Michael has offered Mr Davies another leading role within the assembly structure - as chairman of the important economic development committee - and that the offer had been accepted.

As a committee chairman, he will be able to scrutinise the assembly's decisions and initiate legislation, and the move goes a considerable distance towards bringing Mr Davies back into the mainstream of Welsh political life.

"I have always said that I thought he would be able to make a contribution to the assembly," said Mr Michael, confirming the move after his cabinet's first meeting.

Mr Davies, who was offered the job at a meeting of Labour's assembly members, said: "How can I refuse an offer from figures of such importance?"

After Wednesday's historic first session of the assembly, the main business on Thursday was the first meeting of the new cabinet with the first secretary.

The four men and four women who make up the top team discussed what their duties would be when power is transferred to the assembly from the Welsh Office on 1 July.

Mr Michael said afterwards: "It was very exciting to be sitting down to the day-to-day work of the cabinet."

The first secretary also announced the five Labour Assembly Members who will act as links between the regions of Wales and the new body.

They include Alun Pugh for the north west; Huw Lewis for Merthyr/Gwent; Janice Gregory for Mid Glamorgan; Gwenda Thomas for west Wales and Lorraine Barrett for Cardiff.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats announced which of their six assembly members would be taking responsibility for what when sittings begin.

The list includes Mike German, economic development and Europe; Jenny Randerson, pre-16 education; Kirsty Williams, health and social services; Peter Black, government planning; Mick Bates, rural economy and agriculture and Christine Humphreys, post-16 education.

Plaid Cymru, which has 17 assembly members, is expected to announce its spokesmen and women next week.

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