Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 17:08 UK

David Cameron to visit Wales 'in days'

David Cameron and the cabinet in the garden of 10 Downing Street
David Cameron and the cabinet in the garden of 10 Downing Street


David Cameron has called his Welsh counterpart ahead of his first visit to Wales since moving into Downing Street.

The prime minister is due in Cardiff in days, and briefly called First Minister Carwyn Jones on Wednesday night.

Mr Cameron has made Cheryl Gillan the first female Welsh secretary, and another Conservative, Clwyd West MP David Jones, will be her deputy.

That means the Wales Office is one of the few departments without a Liberal Democrat minister.

"The prime minister spoke to First Minister Carwyn Jones yesterday evening," said a Downing Street spokesperson spokesperson.

"The first minister congratulated David Cameron on his appointment as prime minister and looks forward to working with him.

"The prime minister confirmed his commitment to devolution and his enthusiasm to work productively with the assembly.

"The prime minister confirmed his desire to visit Wales soon."

Meanwhile, speaking after her appointment in the coalition cabinet, Mrs Gillan said the economy and a referendum on more legislative powers for Wales were her first priorities in her new role.

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan arriving for her first cabinet meeting

We need a fresh approach to creating and protecting jobs, supporting businesses, and investing in skills and training

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan

"We need a fresh approach to creating and protecting jobs, supporting businesses, and investing in skills and training," she said.

Mrs Gillan said while the economy was the main focus, the people of Wales would also decide on new powers for the Welsh assembly.

"It's one of my first priorities to discuss when I get into my department," she said.

"I have always said we will let the Welsh people decide and I will keep that promise.

Mrs Gillan said she looked forward to a constructive and business-like relationship with Mr Jones and his cabinet in Cardiff Bay.

"Carwyn and I have always had a cordial and courteous relationship and I very much expect that to continue," she said.

Mrs Gillan said she would be seeking a meeting with Mr Jones as soon as possible to discuss the Welsh economy and a referendum for further legislative powers for Wales.

She said: "As David Cameron and I have already stated, I will be progressing arrangements for a referendum on further legislative powers as requested by the Welsh Assembly Government. It will then be up to the people of Wales to decide.

'Victims'

"Meanwhile, the recession has taken a terrible toll in Wales in recent years. Latest jobless figures published today reveal unemployment in Wales has reached 9.3%.

"Families and young people across Wales have been the real victims of this recession. That's why we need a fresh approach to creating and protecting jobs, supporting businesses, and investing in skills and training.

"New government initiatives, such as providing tax breaks for companies which create new jobs, can get Wales working again."

On Wednesday Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams called on Mrs Gillan to stand up for the people of Wales and give them a say on how they wanted devolution to proceed.

"An early referendum on further law-making powers for Wales will be her first test," said Ms Williams.

Plaid Cymru's Commons leader Elfyn Llwyd MP said the request for a referendum from the Welsh Assembly Government on more law making powers should be "on top of [Mrs Gillan's] desk."

He said he looked forward to a "prompt call" for it to be held as Mrs Gillan has said that she would not stand in its way.



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