Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 18:42 UK

New heritage minister announced

Alun Ffred Jones
Alun Ffred Jones is a former journalist and television director

A new heritage minister has been appointed following the resignation of Rhodri Glyn Thomas last week.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan announced Plaid Cymru assembly member Alun Ffred Jones was taking on the cabinet role.

Mr Thomas stood down amid claims he entered a pub with a lit cigar. He said his position was not "sustainable".

Mr Morgan said Arfon AM Mr Jones was "highly qualified" for the job. Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones also welcomed him into the post.

Mr Thomas quit the Labour-Plaid administration unexpectedly on Friday after reports of him walking into a pub near the Senedd in Cardiff Bay holding a lit cigar.

'Tremendous privilege'

A few weeks earlier Mr Thomas was at the centre of more controversy when he announced from the podium the wrong winner at a ceremony for the Wales Book of the Year.

Born Brynamman, Carmarthenshire, 1949, son of a minister
Widower with three children
Educated in Bala, Gwynedd and at the University of Wales, Bangor (BA in Welsh)
Former councillor, elected Plaid Cymru AM for Caernarfon [now called Arfon] in 2003
Former teacher, TV producer and director
Co-writer of S4C football comedy series C'mon Midffild
Chair of Nantlle Vale Football Club
Interests in reading, cycling, sport, theatre, gardening

In his resignation letter Mr Thomas said the adverse publicity had made his ministerial position "no longer sustainable".

Arfon AM Alun Ffred Jones, a former teacher, television director and journalist, became AM for Caernarfon [now called Arfon] in 2003.

The brother of Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Iwan, he said it was a "tremendous privilege" to be asked to serve in the cabinet and he was "determined to build on the strong foundations laid by Rhodri Glyn Thomas, and to deliver on the commitments set out in [Labour-Plaid assembly government deal] One Wales".

Mr Jones added: "Through being an assembly member for Arfon I also hope I can contribute to the objectives of this government of uniting our nation, spreading prosperity and building confidence in our ability to take good decisions in the interest of Wales."

Rhodri Glyn Thomas
Rhodri Glyn Thomas stepped down last week

First Minister Rhodri Morgan, welcoming his new cabinet colleague, said he was sure he would make "a very positive contribution".

Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "We are fortunate that he bring such wide experience with him as well as his commitment as our deputy group leader to delivering One Wales."

Welsh-speaker Alun Ffred Jones, who was educated at the University of Wales, Bangor, also speaks French.

He is a former leader of Gwynedd Council, chair of the community company Antur Nantlle and chair of Nantlle Vale Football Club. He lists his main political interests as broadcasting, community development and the economy.

Commenting on the appointment, Eleanor Burnham, Welsh Liberal Democrat spokesperson for the Welsh language, said "Alun Ffred Jones will have a lot to deal with in his inbox given the sudden exit of Rhodri Glyn from office. "

Meanwhile, for the Conservatives, Paul Davies, the shadow culture minister, wished Mr Jones well.

"This portfolio was too important to remain vacant for as long as it did, especially with the National Eisteddfod just days away," he said.

Cigar blunder minister quits job
18 Jul 08 |  South East Wales
Gaffes stub out minister's career
18 Jul 08 |  South East Wales

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