1. ITV Report

A year in Welsh politics

Labour reclaimed many of the strongholds it lost in 2008 Photo: ITV News Wales

Adrian Masters is ITV Wales' Political Editor. He also presents our politics programme Sharp End and interviews many of Wales' leading public figures in Face to Face.

Election excitement

Labour celebrated a remarkable council comeback in May, gaining more than 230 seats across Wales and taking outright control of ten authorities. All three of the other parties suffered significant losses.

November brought four new elected officials - Police and Crime Commissioners - despite worries about the extremely low turnout which many blamed on lack of information and confusion about both the election itself and the purpose of the role. At the same time, Stephen Doughty became Wales' newest MP after he won the Cardiff South and Penarth by-election for Labour.

There won't be any votes in 2013, unless you live on Anglesey where the election was delayed for a year.

Follow the leader

In March, Plaid Cymru members chose Leanne Wood to be their new leader. It was seen as a new start for a party which has struggled to find its way after a period in coalition government with Labour.

Leanne Wood was seen as the outsider when the race to replace Ieuan Wyn Jones began Credit: Plaid Cymru

Trading Places

There was a changeover in the top jobs for Wales at Westminster. First Peter Hain stood down as Shadow Welsh Secretary to be replaced by Owen Smith. Then Cheryl Gillan was sacked as part of David Cameron's cabinet reshuffle, to be replaced by her deputy David Jones who became the first Conservative from a Welsh seat to do the job since Nicholas Edwards.

Money, money, money

In October, an unprecedented agreement was reached between the Labour Welsh Government, Conservative Welsh Secretary and Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury to allow the Welsh Government to borrow money, as long as it had 'an income stream' to pay it back. That income stream could come from tax-raising powers recommended this month by the Silk Commission. The Treasury response to the Silk Report recommendations is expected next Spring.

The agreement could mean the Welsh Government borrows money to finance major infrastructure projects Credit: ITV News Wales

Education, education, education

Education Minister Leighton Andrews was cheered by teachers and students here in Wales after he ordered a regrade of this year's GCSE English results in September. But he was publicly attacked by the Education Secretary Michael Gove who decided not to do the same in England.

Leighton Andrews was named Welsh Politician of the Year for the second year running Credit: ITV News Wales

Making Tracks

In July the then Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan and the then Transport Secretary Justine Greening announced that the UK Government would extend plans to electrify the rail line from London as far as Swansea. The plans had previously only gone as far as Cardiff. The Valleys lines networks are also to be electrified. It was a victory for politicians, business leaders and local campaigners. A similar campaign has now begun to push for electrification of the main line across the north.


Health Minister Lesley Griffiths survived a confidence vote brought against her by the three opposition parties when Plaid Cymru's Dafydd Elis Thomas refused to return to the Assembly for the vote. He was suspended from the Plaid group but had the whip restored by leader Leanne Wood.

Budget deal

After reaching a deal with the Liberal Democrats last year, Carwyn Jones surprised many by doing a deal with Plaid this year to enable his budget to go through. Plaid abstained in the final vote in return for commitments to spend more money on apprenticeships and on a science park.

Difficult year

Plaid AM Bethan Jenkins has been banned from driving for 20 months, after being caught more than twice the drink drive limit. It was also a difficult year for Llanelli AM Keith Davies. In May he had to apologise to AMs after a drunken incident at a Cardiff Bay hotel. Later in the year he was taken seriously ill with a blood clot on the brain. He's said to be recovering well at home after spending a month in hospital.

Concern for the wellbeing of Keith Davies has come from all corners Credit: ITV News Wales

On Christmas Day, our Sports Correspondent Richard Morgan writes about his sporting moments to cherish in 2012.

More on this story

  • The story of 2012: July - December

    The last six months have seen the North Wales child abuse scandal back on the agenda, fatal fires in Prestatyn and Cwmbran, and London 2012.

  • Remembered in 2012

    Our reporter looks back at some of the famous Welsh names we lost this year.