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Thursday, 6 December, 2001, 21:14 GMT
Labour peer enters language row
Lord Morris of Aberavon
Lord Morris denies being 'inflammatory'
Former Labour Welsh Secretary Lord Morris of Aberavon has added to the row over protecting rural Welsh-speaking communities.

In a speech in Pontypridd, south Wales, Lord Morris complained of rural areas becoming "swamped by economic migrants".

The Labour peer will call on the Assembly to set up an independent inquiry into the position of the Welsh language.
Simon Brooks, Cymuned
Simon Brooks: Seeking support for language from UN

His comments echo those made by Gwynedd councillor Seimon Glyn, who reignited the language debate earlier this year, when he described incomers as a "drain on resources".

But Lord Morris denies his speech adds fuel to the debate.

"I do not think it is inflammatory, it is reasoned and serves to put a searchlight on the issue," said Lord Morris.

The peer said he had drawn from his many years as a politician to try and tackle a problem of some significance.

A Labour Party spokesperson said Lord Morris was entitled to make his comments.

Meanwhile, the Welsh language group Cymuned - set up in the wake of Coun Glyn's comments - is due to fly to New York to address the United Nations on the language issue.
United Nations
Platform: Cymuned members are to petition the UN

Group member Simon Brooks said: "There are far-flung groups feeling a similar crisis.

"It is right that we should go to a major body to address the problem."

Lord Morris is not the first senior Labour figure to raise the language issue.

In October, Newport West MP Paul Flynn accused the Wales Labour Party of "shamefully" ignoring the state of the Welsh language.

Mr Flynn made his attack in an article published in the Welsh language magazine Barn.

The MP said some Labour politicians were guilty of joining a tabloid "witchhunt" against the language "in the belief that it is politically advantageous".

He added there was hesititation by officials in their efforts to preserve Welsh-speaking areas of Wales.

Lord Morris of Aberavon
"I do not think my comments are inflammatory"
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