Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010

Carwyn Jones on Labour's 'big choice' conference

Carwyn Jones said the people of Wales faced a stark choice at the next general election

Welsh Labour says it is offering voters a choice between "continued leadership" and what it claims will be "deep cuts across the board" from the Tories.

First Minister Carwyn Jones's first conference as leader in Wales will fix an "unstinting focus" on the general election.

He said voters could only avoid deep public spending cuts by voting Labour.

The conference in Swansea starts on Saturday, and Mr Jones said it would show people they faced a stark choice.

He said: "The next few years are going to be tough in terms of public spending. But there are two ways of doing it.

The truth is that this coming election will be one where we have to take sides
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain

"Either you make deep cuts across the board, which is the Conservative way, or you look at what you want to prioritise, looking at areas like health and education, looking at prioritising services there and looking, of course, to continue to invest as the recession starts to ebb away

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain said he knew there were tens of thousands of people in Wales who saw themselves not as dyed-in-the-wool Labour supporters but as "progressive supporters" who may vote for the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru or the Greens.

"I am not asking them to sign up to every dot and comma of Labour's policies and proposals, still less to renounce their principles," he said."

"But the truth is that this coming election will be one where we have to take sides."

Mr Jones will give his first conference address as Welsh Labour leader on Saturday morning while Sunday's session will be dominated by Peter Hain's address.

Nia Griffith
Perhaps Ieuan Wyn Jones can stick his face on an advert which is actually a ministerial advert which we've seen in our papers locally and which I think, quite frankly, is despicable
Llanelli MP Nia Griffith objects to a Welsh Assembly Government advert

On the eve of the conference, Llanelli Labour MP Nia Griffith condemned an advertisement featuring Plaid Cymru leader and Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones as "despicable".

The assembly government advertisement featuring Mr Jones in his ministerial role appeared in a newspaper in her constituency.

Ms Griffith spoke of the difficulties she might face during the general election campaign, given that Labour and Plaid are partners in the assembly government.

Ms Griffith said: "In some ways it has confused people, and I think in some ways it gives them (Plaid) a platform because they are a partner in that government.

"And perhaps Ieuan Wyn Jones can stick his face on an advert which is actually a ministerial advert which we've seen in our papers locally and which I think, quite frankly, is despicable."

Ms Griffith said UK government departments sent out adverts outlining the work they did but did not put names or faces on them.

A spokesperson for the deputy first minister said: "These comments are totally bizarre. This advert is simply part of the Welsh Assembly Government's ongoing campaign right across Wales to provide support for Welsh businesses during the recession."



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