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Wednesday, October 27, 1999 Published at 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK

UK: Wales

Murphy certain of his future role

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy has a post devolution function

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy has rejected calls for his job to be merged with those of his counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mr Murphy told MPs on the Welsh Select Committee that combining the three roles would be too much for one person.

He was giving evidence amid renewed speculation about the future of the post.

Conservative Party leader William Hague said he is not convinced of the need for the job to continue.

Mr Murphy said the future of the post was a question for the Prime Minister, but he said his role was a busy one.

He saw it as a means of protecting the devolution settlement from the perspective of both Wales and Westminster.

He repeated his view that devolution was a settled question after the 1997 referendum.

Mr Murphy was appointed as Alun Michael's successor in the summer and has argued that Wales needs a dedicated voice at the UK Cabinet table.

The former Northern Ireland minister stated that his role is a vital one, particularly in the early stages of devolution.

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