Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones last night confirmed his new frontbench, including a place for Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams. Labour denied the move constituted a formal coalition, and stated that it was committed to fulfilling the manifesto it was elected on, but said that there was need for greater “constructive collaboration” in the Assembly.
This follows days of talks with Plaid Cymru, the new official opposition, which led to an agreement not to pursue any legislation in the first 100 days while an effort to develop a tougher scrutiny and committee procedure for new laws is developed.
Jones last night conducted his reshuffle, handing the education brief to Williams, in a move he says heralds “a new era for Welsh politics”. As she was the only Lib Dem elected on May 5, her appointment still leaves Labour two short of an overall majority in the Senedd, but does ensure that Jones’ frontbench has a 50/50 gender split.
“Kirsty has a wealth of experience and is one of the Assembly’s most able politicians,” Jones said last night. “There are areas out with the education portfolio where we have had productive discussions, but this invitation to join the Government does not constitute a coalition agreement, both of us are very clear about that – as are our parties. Welsh Labour, of course, remains committed to delivering on our manifesto promises made to the people of Wales.
“This is a new era for Welsh politics, and today’s agreement reflects the need for Wales’ progressive politicians to work together. I said in my statement to the Assembly this week that no one party has a monopoly on good ideas, and I am committed to working across party boundaries for the good of Wales.”
Here is Carwyn Jones’ new frontbench:
Ken Skates – Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure
Vaughan Gething – Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
Mark Drakeford – Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government
Kirsty Williams – Cabinet Secretary for Education
Lesley Griffiths – Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs
Carl Sargeant – Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children
Jane Hutt – Leader of the House and Chief Whip
Julie James – Minister for Skills and Science
Alun Davies – Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language
Rebecca Evans – Minister for Social Services and Public Health