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BBC Wales's Paliamentary Correspondent David Cornock
"The award should help raise Mr Murphy's profile"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 24 November, 1999, 13:42 GMT
Political 'Oscar' for Welsh Minister
Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy is Minister to Watch

The Secretary of State for Wales, Paul Murphy, has won a top award at Westminster.

Mr Murphy has been named as one of the winners in The Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year Award - the political Oscars.

His award - as Minister to Watch - was given for his work in his previous job as a Northern Ireland Minister.

As deputy to Mo Mowlam for two years, he played a key role in the peace process and was involved in the delicate negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement.

'Widely admired'

The judges said: "It was said that the secret of Mo Mowlam's success as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was her willingness to throw her arms around people on all sides of the conflict and hug them.

"Perhaps the reason things have not totally collapsed over there is that there was always someone to comfort those whom Mo had hugged.

"This year's winner has been widely admired for the way he has gone to those unionists, reeling from her embraces, and persuaded them to look on the bright side."

Previous Welsh winners include Rhodri Morgan (for his fearless questioning of the Prime Minister's press secretary, Alastair Campbell) and Paul Flynn (for asking Ministers difficult questions).

Mr Murphy was presented with his award over lunch at the Savoy Hotel in London.

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See also:
28 Jul 99 |  Wales
Murphy confirmed as Welsh Secretary
28 Jul 99 |  UK Politics
Paul Murphy: A Welsh homecoming

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