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Monday, 24 July, 2000, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
Morgan made privy councillor

Now the Right Honourable Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan, First Secretary of the Welsh Assembly, has been made a privy councillor.

The appointment means that he becomes one of the Queen's advisers on matters of state and will be known as the Right Honourable Rhodri Morgan.

More practically, it means he can be given access to confidential information on "privy council" terms.

For example, the Secretary of State for Wales, Paul Murphy, will be able to share information from the UK cabinet with Mr Morgan that he could not before.

No council place for Livingstone

A spokesman for the prime minister said that Mr Blair had made it clear when he visited Wales that Mr Morgan was doing a "very good job" as First Secretary.

Scottish First Minister Donald Dewar and David Trimble, First Minister of the Northern Ireland assembly are also privy counsellors.

However, London mayor Ken Livingstone is not.

When asked about Mr Livingstone, Mr Blair's spokesman said that privy council appointments were a matter for the prime minister and he was not aware that any other appointments were being made.

Advising the monarchy

Historically the privy council was the name given to the group of ministers who acted as chief advisers to the king or queen.

As the power of the monarch declined the cabinet replaced the privy council as the senior decision-making body.

Nowadays, the privy council's duties are largely formal and ceremonial.

It has about 300 members, including all cabinet members past and present, the leaders of all the main parties, and the Speaker. Its formal tasks include authorising Orders in Council and making appointments to offices of the Crown.

In the House of Commons, a privy councillor will take precedence over a normal MP when the Speaker calls MPs to speak, and may speak for longer.

Privy councillors are referred to in the Commons as "Right Honourable" members.

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15 Feb 00 | Wales
Morgan leads Welsh Assembly
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