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Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Praise for promoted MPs
Peter Hain
Peter Hain has been an MP since 1991
News of two Cabinet reshuffles involving south Wales MPs has been welcomed by politicians and Labour party staff from the region.

Neath MP Peter Hain has been named as Welsh Secretary in place of Torfaen MP Paul Murphy, who has been promoted to the post of Northen Ireland Secretary.

Gwenda Thomas AM
Gwenda Thomas AM said Mr Hain sounded 'excited'

Gwenda Thomas, the Labour AM for Neath, said Peter Hain's appointment was excellent both for the town and for Wales.

Ms Thomas felt Mr Hain, who is taking up his first Cabinet post since becoming an MP in 1991, would have all the attributes necessary to succeed in his new post.

"Peter has proved himself as someone who can bring people together," she said.

Mike German, regional Liberal Democrat AM for south Wales east and deputy leader of the assembly, said he hoped Mr Hain would "help the assembly gain the power and income it needs".

"It is good to have two Cabinet Ministers from Wales at a time when the assembly doesn't have sufficient powers to do all it needs for Wales on its own," he added.

Mr German also said Paul Murphy was the "ideal candidate" for the Northern Ireland post.

Mike German AM
Mike German AM: Hopes Mr Hain will help the assembly

In Mr Hain's constituency, Mr Lyn Harper, Deputy Leader for Neath Port Talbot council said the appointment was a boost for the county borough and would put the area on the map.

Mr Hain's constituency secretary Karen Price was also delighted.

"He is an MP who can be looked up to. There isn't anything he could not possibly achieve," she said.

But Dr Dai Lloyd, Plaid Cymru AM for south Wales west, labelled Mr Hain's appointment as a "brave decision" in the light of the upcoming assembly elections.

"Peter was Alun Michael's campaign manger when he ran against Rhodi Morgan for the Assembly leadership, so there will be some obvious tension and bridge-building required," he said.

Dr Lloyd also said he hoped Mr Hain would attend the assembly sessions somewhat more often than his predecessor Mr Murphy.

Disappointment

Meanwhile, Lynne Neagle, Labour AM for Torfaen, said Mr Murphy had done an excellent job in his three years as Welsh Secretary, but would relish his Northern Ireland post.

Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy is the new Northern Ireland secretary

"I know that I can speak for all my Labour colleagues when I say that, while it is well deserved, we are sorry to see him move on."

Brian Smith, leader of Torfaen Council, was disappointed Paul Murphy would be leaving Wales.

"I had hoped the Prime Minister would keep Paul Murphy in Wales because he has made a significant contribution to the cohesion between the Welsh Assembly Government and Central Government.

"His new appointment came as a complete surprise - it is a significant gain for Northern Ireland and a loss for Wales," he added.


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