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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Hain promoted to Welsh secretary
Peter Hain holds a statuette of Nye Bevan, the founder of the N.H.S. as he takes over from Paul Murphy as the Secretary of State for Wales, on the steps of the Welsh Office, London, Thursday 24 Octobe
Hain returned to the Welsh Office with Aneurin Bevan
Neath MP Peter Hain has been named as the new Secretary of State for Wales in the government mini-shuffle following Estelle Morris's resignation as education secretary.

Paul Murphy, who has held the Wales' post for three years, also wins promotion as the new Northern Ireland secretary.

Peter Hain takes up his first Cabinet post since becoming an MP in 1991.

Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy is the new Northern Ireland secretary
He was formerly Minister for Europe at the Foreign Office.

Mr Murphy, the MP for Torfaen, is taking over the Northern Ireland role from John Reid, who has moved to the role of Labour party chairman.

Meanwhile, Charles Clarke takes over as education secretary replacing Ms Morris.

Mr Hain was a junior minister in the Welsh Office between 1997 and 1999.

Security minister

He was Alun Michael's campaign manager in the bitter leadership contest with Rhodri Morgan to lead Labour in the Welsh Assembly four years ago.

It has been confirmed Mr Hain will retain his responsibility for liasing with the European Convention which is looking at the future of the EU.

The new Welsh Secretary said he was "thrilled" to be joining the Cabinet as Welsh Secretary, and "equally thrilled" to be working closely with Rhodri Morgan, a longstanding friend.

"Rhodri and I helped to win the referendum for a National Assembly together, we worked equally closely in the 1999 assembly elections and I look forward to a winning partnership in the assembly next year," Mr Hain said.

Downing Street also said Mr Murphy, who used to be security minister at the Northern Ireland office until 1999, was well known and respected by all parties in the province and fully committed to the peace process.

Devolution campaigner

He has spent his time at the Wales Office smoothing relations between the assembly and Whitehall.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan welcomed Peter Hain's appointment and also paid tribute to his predecessor.

"Paul Murphy returns to Northern Ireland at a crucial time in the peace process with our warmest wishes and with every support from the people of Wales - well earned for his tremendous hard work over the past few years," said Mr Morgan.

Mr Morgan said he was looking forward to working with Mr Hain, a prominent devolution campaigner.

"He will be a firm advocate for Wales and I'm confident that together we will continue the strong working relationship established between the Welsh Assembly Government and the Wales Office," he said.

BBC Wales correspondent Wyre Davies
"The prize is a seat in cabinet"
Peter Hain, Welsh Secretary
"It's a very big job"
Neath constituents
react to the news

Key stories

Morris quits





More from south east Wales

More from south west Wales
See also:

24 Oct 02 | Wales
24 Oct 02 | N Ireland
24 Oct 02 | Wales
17 Oct 02 | Politics
16 Oct 02 | Politics
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