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BBC Wales's David Cornock
"Giving evidence to MPs, Paul Murphy admitted that the future was looking uncertain."
 real 28k

BBC Wales's David Cornock reports
"Mr Murphy found himself in the company of friends"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
Murphy uncertain over future role
Paul Murphy
MPs want to know what Mr Murphy does with his time
Secretary of State for Wales Paul Murphy has admitted that the future of his job is uncertain.

MPs on the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs wanted to know why his role should survive after devolution.

For almost a year, Paul Murphy has been Wales's man at Tony Blair's top table .

Michael Ancram
Conservative Party Chairman Michael Ancram

But following devolution, the 13th Welsh Secretary may well turn out to be the last.

The majority of its power has now passed to the Welsh Assembly, much to the derision of his opponents.

In June last year, Conservative Party Chairman Michael Ancram ridiculed Mr Murphy during an address to party members.

"As for poor old Paul Murphy," he said. "There is a new saying, it's called 'doing a Murphy'.

"It means pretending to be terribly important and awfully busy when in fact, you have got nothing at all to do."

Members of the Welsh Select Committee shots of are expected to Mr Murphy what he does for his 97,000 a year.

His key task is negotiating the National Assembly's Budget with the Treasury.

And his political stock will rise or fall on how well Wales does when the results of the Government's spending review are revealed next month.

Call for more devolution opposed

Questioned by the MPs. Mr Murphy rejected calls for Westminster to devolve more powers to the Assembly.

He said he could not think of a single issue that should be transferred and that he thought the Government had got the settlement about right.

Asked about the prospect of transferring more transport responsibilities, he said railways should stay at Westminster because they cross borders.

But he added: "None of us can ever say never in politics". Mr Murphy said it was up to the Prime Minister to decide the future of his post, but he thought it vital there was a Welsh ministerial presence at Westminster.

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19 Oct 99 | Guide to the UK Government
Office for the Secretary of State for Wales
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