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Michael German, Welsh Assembly Lib Dem leader
"One of the big effects on the partnership document is local government in Wales"
 real 28k

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid Cymru president
"Plaid Cymru will, in a sense, now become the government in waiting for Wales"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's political editor David Williams
"This was a major shake-up in every sense"
 real 56k

Monday, 16 October, 2000, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Welsh Lib-Dems join assembly cabinet
Assembly Lib Dem leader Mike German
First Secretary Rhodri Morgan has confirmed that two Liberal Democrats will join the Welsh Assembly cabinet.

Welsh Assembly Lib Dem leader Michael German has become deputy first minister, with Mr Morgan changing his own title to first minister.

Mr German will also take up the role of economic development secretary.

His Lib Dem colleague Jenny Randerson was named as minister for culture and sports.

Labour's Jane Davidson - formerly deputy presiding officer - was given the role of minister for education and lifelong learning, replacing Rosemary Butler.

Jenny Randerson, Lib Dem AM
Jenny Randerson AM: Re-shuffle benefactor
Labour local government sercretary Peter Law became the first casualty of the changes, with Edwina Hart taking over his role to become minister for finance and the communities.

The shake-up follows an overwhelming vote by the Lib Dems - the assembly's smallest party - to join the ruling minority Labour administration in a coalition.

The vote on Sunday was 130 for, 11 against with eight abstaining.

An agreement drawn up by the leaders of the two parties at the assembly won almost unanimous support of representatives at the Liberal Democrats' autumn conference in Wales.

Two seats in cabinet

Mr Morgan is expected to create the new cabinet posts of culture secretary and education secretary - the latter combining two previous education posts.

The Lib Dems are expected to be given two seats in the cabinet with their assembly leader Michael German becoming deputy first secretary.

The Lib Dems will also see more than 100 of their policies adopted.

Crucially, the deal will also give the minority Labour administration the stability it has lacked with poor performance at last year's first assembly election.

Mike German AM
Mike German AM: Assembly deputy first minister role
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy welcomed the vote saying: "This is a good day for Wales, a good day for devolution and a good day for the Liberal Democrats."

Earlier Mr German apologised for holding discussions with Labour in secret.

In a 14-minute speech at the beginning of the party's debate on the agreement, he began by urging his party to have confidence in themselves and to vote for the partnership agreement with Labour

He said he was "worried about blowing it all out of the water by making it sound like a done deal before we'd even got a plan".

Holy Grail

He said the principle of devolution itself was at stake, as was the party's holy grail - PR at Westminster.

If the assembly continued as it was, stumbling from vote-to-vote, he added, people would lose faith in devolution and link that directly to proportional representation.

He said the agreement was about delivering Liberal Democrat policies and that that could only be done from inside the government.

While not all the delegates appeared to applaud the speech, there was a standing ovation from most.

  • Meanwhile, the Welsh Joint Education Committee's board of directors will receive a call for a police investigation into the spending made on a corporate credit card by Mr German, while he was employee of the WJEC.

    At a meeting in mid Wales later on Monday, Jeff Jones, leader of Bridgend county council and a member of the board of directors, will also call for an internal WJEC audit on the matter.

    Mr German has denied any wrong doing and said he has nothing to hide.

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    See also:

    05 Oct 00 | Wales
    Coalition for National Assembly
    18 Sep 00 | Liberal Democrats
    Lib Dems plan 400m Assembly boost
    20 Sep 99 | UK Politics
    Mike German's speech
    09 Oct 00 | Wales
    Lib Dem leader's coalition tour
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