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The BBC's Wyre Davies
"One topic dominated on the first day of the Royal Welsh Show"
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BBC Wales's Laura Jones
"In taking her seat at the Cabinet table, it was what she would not allow on her own table that caused the controversy."
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BBC Wales's Rhuanedd Richards
"Christine Gwyther admits she's disappointed"
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First secretary, Rhodri Morgan
"It is time for a fresh start"
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Monday, 24 July, 2000, 19:32 GMT 20:32 UK
Gwyther sacked from Assembly cabinet
Christine Gwyther
Christine Gwyther had a turbulent time in office
Wales's vegetarian agriculture secretary is dropped from the Assembly cabinet during a reshuffle by First Secretary Rhodri Morgan.

Christine Gwyther, who has faced constant opposition since her appointment last year - is to be replaced by her deputy, Carwyn Jones.

Ms Gwyther, paid almost 70,000 a year as Agriculture Secretary, has been the most controversial cabinet member and faced three censure motions for her handling of the portfolio, losing one.

Announcing Ms Gwyther's departure, First Secretary Rhodri Morgan said it was his decision and she had not resigned.

Carwyn Jones
Carwyn Jones is the new minister
"It would be quite wrong to think this implies any criticism of her," he said. "It is just that Carwyn is the right person to do the job now.

She is the only assembly member to have received the official reprimand but was not forced to resign.

Criticism of the secretary has come from many quarters, including farmers, primarily because she has been vegetarian for 20 years.

Last month she was attacked for a comment in the assembly that farming's contribution to the Welsh economy was "close to zero".

I have a tremendous admiration for what Christine Gwyther has achieved

Rhodri Morgan
Besides former first secretary Alun Michael, Ms Gwyther is the first cabinet member to lose her job.

But Mr Morgan insisted her career in the front line of Welsh Labour was not an end.

"I have a tremendous admiration for what Christine Gwyther has achieved against the odds during the assembly's first 15 months in a very difficult agriculture and rural development portfolio," he said.

It is a tremendous honour and a huge responsibility

Carwyn Jones
"The time has now come for a change and I have decided to appoint to this post Carwyn Jones, who has done an excellent job since I appointed him as deputy secretary for agriculture, environment and local government five months ago."

The decision comes ahead of the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells which Mr Jones will now attend with the first secretary.

Ms Gwyther said: "Whilst I am naturally disappointed to be replaced, I wish my successor well in what is sometimes a difficult but often rewarding brief.

Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan: "Tremendous admiration"
"But I would also like to place on record my thanks to the National Assembly staff who worked so assiduously over the past 15 months. They have been an absolute pleasure to work with."

Mr Jones, AM for Bridgend, said: "I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be appointed by Rhodri Morgan as the cabinet member for agriculture and rural development.

"It is a tremendous honour and a huge responsibility."

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See also:

26 May 00 | Wales
Farm economy contribution row
12 May 00 | Wales
Second call for Gwyther to go
19 May 00 | Wales
Doubts over cattle venture
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