Page last updated at 17:45 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Profile: Carwyn Jones

Carwyn Jones (centre)
Carwyn Jones (centre) with supporters among Welsh MPs at Westminster

By Adrian Browne
BBC Wales political reporter

Carwyn Jones has long been considered the likely figure to take over from Rhodri Morgan at the head of Welsh Labour.

Relaxed and confident on television and radio, as a barrister he is skilled at summing up an argument and finding the right form of words to say what needs to be said, without leaving too many hostages to fortune.

Described by his supporters as having "broad appeal" within Labour and Wales as a whole, he is a relatively young man at 42 and also a fluent Welsh speaker.

Born in Swansea, he was brought up in Bridgend, the constituency he has represented since the Welsh assembly was created a decade ago.

Mr Jones joined the Labour Party as a university student in Aberystwyth, during the 1985 miners' strike.

Married with two children, he has held various positions before his current role of counsel general, the assembly government's chief legal adviser, and leader of the house.

He enjoyed a high profile as rural affairs minister during the 2001 foot and mouth crisis, and was generally credited with keeping a firm hand on the tiller and earning the respect of farmers' leaders, not traditional allies of the Labour Party.

Born: 1967 in Swansea, grew up in Bridgend
Education: Brynteg Comprehensive, Aberystwyth University
Personal: Married to Lisa, two children, Seren and Ruairi
Career: Barrister, Cardiff University tutor
Politics: Bridgend councillor, 1995-2000, Bridgend AM, 1999 to date, various ministerial roles, including rural affairs, open government, environment, currently counsel general.
Interests: Sport, particularly both rugby codes, walking, cycling, golf

The downside of that success is that his critics suggest that, after that burst of publicity, he was relatively invisible to the wider public for eight years until the Welsh Labour leadership campaign began.

In the battle to win that top job, Mr Jones said he wanted to help "make a difference to the lives of people in Wales" by building on the achievements of Rhodri Morgan's assembly governments over the past nine years.

Mr Jones attacked Plaid Cymru, Labour's assembly coalition partner, for pursuing independence for Wales, warning it would be unaffordable and cut people off from friends and families.

A key pledge in his manifesto was to increase education spending, describing it as the "route out of poverty", and to ensure a bigger proportion of education spending reached the schools, colleges and universities it was intended for.

During the campaign, he also promised to end "perceptions of isolation" in west and north Wales and to prioritise the re-election of a Labour UK government next year and a majority Labour assembly government in 2011.

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