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BBC Wales's Melanie Doel
"He says devolution has changed the role of Welsh MPs beyond recognition"
 real 28k

Saturday, 22 January, 2000, 18:23 GMT
Former minister's post-devolution retirement

Ted Rowlands, MP for Merthyr and Rhymney Ted Rowlands believes the role of a Welsh MP has changed


A former Foreign Office minister has announced he is to retire at the next election following post-devolution changes in the Commons.

Making the announcement on the weekend of his 60th birthday - Merthyr and Rhymney MP Ted Rowlands said the role of an MP had changed considerably since devolution.

He said ministers at Westminster are no longer accountable or able to deal with the constituency issues he raises.

"I've always thought my fundamental duty was to carry matters large and not so large to Westminster and making ministers accountable for their actions as it affects our patch," he said.

'Divided role'

"Now that's going to be a divided role. Health, education, training - all areas that have always been of interest to me - those are now Assembly matters."

He has also criticised what he describes as the fashion to denigrate Westminster politics as so-called "yah boo" politics.

Mr Rowlands has served for a third of a century in the Commons - in nine Parliaments and three Labour govermnments - after winning Cardiff North at the age of 26.

There will be keen competition to among Labour candidates for the seat - his 30,000 majority at the last election made it the second safest in Britain.

Miners strike

An experienced former minister who held portfolios in the Foreign Office and on the Opposition front bench for energy matters during the miners strike.

He was involved in the 1982 Falklands negotiations up to the invasion by Argentina and unwisely blurted out in debate that we had been decoding their cables.

Mrs Thatcher called it "utterly devastating".

A research assistant, lecturer and author before taking up his seat, the father-of-three has served on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee since 1987.

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See also:
01 Jul 99 |  UK Politics
Wales and Whitehall could clash
10 Jun 98 |  UK Politics
Arms-to-Africa: 'Minister knew of Customs probe'

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