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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Wales@Westminster newslog

It's Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life.

Friday 7, October

Pitching support

posted by David | 1035 BST |

Politicians always tell us that politics is about difficult decisions and there are few more difficult this weekend than that facing secretary of state for Wales Peter Hain.

Mr Hain is also Northern Ireland Secretary and has thus far combined both roles without too many major conflicts of interest.

But tomorrow, Wales play Northern Ireland at football in a World Cup qualifying tie, a challenge for the Neath MP. Does he support the land of his constituents or that where as secretary of state he still wields extensive powers?

There will, I am told, be no fence-sitting in the Hain camp. My man on the Whitehall terraces says: "As an 'adopted' Welshman, Peter always supports our national team , whatever sport. And while rooting for Wales on Saturday, he will also be hoping that Northern Ireland perform well on the field!"

The dilemma is slightly more difficult for his deputy in Northern Ireland, David Hanson. Mr Hanson also sits for a Welsh seat (Delyn) but has the slightly more problematic brief of Northern Ireland sports minister. You may have noticed him being introduced to the teams before the recent Northern Ireland vs England game. (I don't know what he said to Wayne Rooney but it seemed to work).

Mr Hanson is far too modest a chap to point out that since his appointment, Northern Ireland's football fortunes have been turned around. This weekend he may adopt the diplomatic approach of wishing both teams all the best.




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