Page last updated at 09:03 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 10:03 UK

Plaid 'runs rings around Labour'

Don Touhig MP
Don Touhig said Plaid Cymru had been more skilled than Labour

A senior Labour MP says Plaid Cymru has "run rings" around his party in the Welsh Assembly Government since entering coalition.

Former Labour minister Don Touhig spoke on the first anniversary of the One Wales pact between the parties.

He claimed Plaid had had its greatest advance in half a century against a "too dull" Labour Party.

But First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "We don't recognise his description - it's a million miles from reality."

Mr Touhig had spoken out against the Labour-Plaid coalition when it was proposed last year.

They've exploited their position in the assembly very well to make sure that the people believe that advances and changes and benefits to Wales are coming from them and not from the Labour Party
Don Touhig MP on Plaid Cymru

The Islwyn MP has now said Plaid had had the better half of the deal, with its ministers given posts that involved opening railway lines, while Labour ministers battled with the "bed of nails" portfolios of health and education.

He said Plaid Cymru have had "their greatest advance in 50 years" thanks to the power-sharing deal with Labour and had "practically run rings around us politically".

He said: "They've exploited their position in the assembly very well to make sure that the people believe that advances and changes and benefits to Wales are coming from them and not from the Labour Party.

"We're too dull, we haven't done that."

He told BBC Wales there was no doubt the coalition had brought stability to government but said Labour should be more proactive in its priorities of investing in the economy, health, jobs and education.

He said the top priority of the Labour-Plaid coalition was a convention to talk about more powers for the assembly which he said was as relevant to people in Wales as "saying we can farm the moon".

He said: "What we have in Wales at the moment is the priorities of the crachach (the elite) and not the werin (ordinary people).

"There's been a huge investment in the agricultural industry in Wales, a protectionist investment at the expense of investing in the industrial world, where wealth is really created for the Welsh people."

Don Touhig and his comrades at the other end of the M4 can't get over the fact that they are more and more irrelevant and out of touch and frankly I feel sorry for them
Plaid Cymru AM Helen Mary Jones
Plaid Cymru AM for Llanelli Helen Mary Jones said she did not recognise Mr Touhig's description of the two-party coalition.

'Sour grapes'

She said: "It's about working together and I don't think we need to get into a sour grapes agenda here, we've got a lot to celebrate about what the One-Wales government has achieved."

She said the convention was important to gain the "tools for the job" of delivering good services to the people of Wales.

She said: "Don Touhig and his comrades at the other end of the M4 can't get over the fact that they are more and more irrelevant and out of touch and frankly I feel sorry for them."

Labour Wales Office minister Huw Irranca-Davies, speaking before Mr Touhig's comments, said there had been professionalism "across the board".

He said: "I think the fuss [last year, when the coalition was announced] was a bit overblown.

"They wanted an earthquake to happen and the world to fall in.

"Actually, Westminster and the Welsh Assembly Government is a machine that gets on with delivering good business and that's what we've done."




video and audio news
BBC Wales political editor Betsan Powys on a year of coalition in the Senedd



SEE ALSO
All Wales Convention Q & A
03 Jul 08 |  Wales
Senior MPs condemn Plaid deal
05 Jul 07 |  Wales

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific