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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK

MPs await PM's call

Welsh MPs hoping for ministerial jobs in the new Labour government should learn their fate on Monday.

Prime Minister Tony Blair is putting the finishing touches to his new Cabinet and has 18 junior posts to hand out.

The Wales Office's junior team to assist Secretary of State Paul Murphy is also due to be announced.

Mr Murphy was reappointed at the weekend after the prime minister pledged during the election campaign that he would retain the post in the new government.

Beforehand there had been strong indications that the post would be axed.

Welsh MPs who held ministerial posts in the last Labour administration are now awaiting news of their fate.

Mr Blair is expected to telephone the successful junior ministers during Monday.

Among those awaiting a call will be Neath MP Peter Hain, who was moved after a long spell at the Foreign Office earlier this year to take up the role of Energy Minister.

His work there - particulary in sorting out the long-wrangling miners' compensation package - is expected to bring rewards when Mr Blair unveils his team on Monday.

However, the Pontypridd MP Kim Howells, the Consumer Affairs Minister in the last government, has warned that the government must get to the bottom of the poor turnout - just over 60% in Wales -in Thursday's general election.

"We have got to try to discover what it was that is turning people off about politics," said Dr Howells.

"If part of it is this thing that its like a product that's being presented like soap powder then we have got to do something about it."

There is also speculation that there could be a return of Westminster office for Cardiff South and Penarth MP Alun Michael.

Mr Michael's parliamentary career was interrupted when he left the Home Office to become First Minister in the Welsh Assembly before resigning last year.

It is thought Mr Michael could be recalled to Mr Blairs team when the changes are announced on Monday.

If the former Welsh Secretary is not handed a junior ministerial role, it is thought he could be given another senior role chairing a parliamentary committee.

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