Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Wednesday, 17 October 2012 12:10 UK

Welsh secretary dismisses criticism of stance on devolution

Welsh Secretary David Jones has denied believing that devolution in Wales has "damaged" the UK's constitution.

On 17 October 2012, at his first departmental question session in the Commons since being handed the new job in PM David Cameron's recent reshuffle, Mr Jones was accused of disguising his true feelings about handing legislative power to the devolved institutions in Wales.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith seized on Mr Jones's remark that devolution "could be good for Wales".

"Isn't the reality that his view that the devolution settlement has damaged our constitution, and his deputy's view that it is constitutional vandalism, is what they really think?" Mr Smith said.

"They really have disrespect for devolution," he suggested, concluding: "Isn't the truth that he can't speak for modern Wales, devolved Wales; but on this side of the House, we can and we will?"

But Mr Jones explain

Wales Office questions

ed: "When I used the word 'could', Mr Speaker, I intended to point out that under the Labour's government, coupled with 10 years plus of Labour government here in London, we have seen Wales as the poorest part of the UK.

"I believe that a lot more could be done to make Wales a happier place to live."

The Welsh secretary pledged to work closely with the devolved institutions in Wales to help achieve this goal.

Other questions focused on elected police and crime commissioners in Wales, promoting enterprise zones in Wales, and the effects of reductions of housing benefit in Wales.

Wales: Government and opposition

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