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First Minister apologises in Senedd

First Minister Carwyn Jones has apologised for the treatment of patients uncovered in the Andrews report on the Princess of Wales hospital in Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot hospital.

They [the patients and their families] deserve an apology from the government and I give it now.

It's not possible for the government to be aware of what's happening on every ward of every hospital but the people of Wales will judge the government by its response.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Mr Jones said that the government's response would be spelt out by the Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, who will address AMs later.

The First Minister said there would be no sackings or resignations at Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board, which the report did not recommend. Rather, its recommendations would be accepted without "cherry-picking"

  1. Adrian Masters

First Minister wades into 'war on Wales'

Carwyn Jones Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Expect Carwyn Jones to continue Welsh Labour's political fightback against repeated criticism from UK Government figures at his party's conference in Llandudno today.

The First Minister will become the second senior Labour politician to use the term 'War on Wales' to describe the unprecedented criticism in the UK media and in the House of Commons of Labour's record of running public services here. He's expected to say,

*"Far from a Respect Agenda, we now find ourselves on the frontline in the Tory War on Wales. Day after day we see attack after attack, on the NHS and those who work in it. On our schools, and on our teachers. On the Welsh language, on our economy, on devolution – on Wales itself." *

Conservative members of the Westmisnter coalition government have for a long time drawn attention to the performance of Welsh public services as a way of highlighting what they claim would be the likely effect of a Labour UK Government.

Members of the Shadow Cabinet have sought to ignore those attacks which has led to accusations that Ed Miliband's team have failed to defend their colleagues in Wales. It looks like that's changed now that the level of scrutiny and criticism has reached a new level of intensity in recent months.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith first talked of a 'war on Wales' during Welsh Questions in the Commons last week and Carwyn Jones' speech looks set to continue the counter-offensive.

Its aim is to attempt recast the current debate so that the sustained criticism is no longer seen as disinterested scrutiny, but rather as a politically motivated attack and an attack not on Labour, Welsh or otherwise, but on Wales itself.


  1. Adrian Masters

When politics is personal: First Minister and Ann Clwyd

The First Minister's direct criticism of Ann Clwyd is as extraordinary as her response. Two senior Welsh Labour politicians are now publicly at odds over something important to the party (the NHS) and extremely sensitive (a painful personal experience of the NHS.)

Both reasons are why Labour politicians have been treading carefully with regard to the Cynon Valley MP's comments. That's changed. Welsh ministers are fighting back against sustained Westminster criticism and they see Ann Clwyd's campaign as part of the attack to be countered.

The risk for the Welsh Government is that the public may see attacks from Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron as clearly political, but in Ann Clwyd many see someone who's speaking up for patients after a painful experience. If that's the case, the First Minister's criticism could look merely personal.

First Minister should talk to Ann Clwyd not criticise her says Opposition Leader

The Welsh Conservative Leader says the First Minister should hold talks with NHS campaigner Ann Clwyd rather than criticising her. Carwyn Jones dismissed the call from Andrew RT Davies because he said Ms Clwyd had produced 'no evidence' to support her concerns.

“Instead of condemning Ann Clwyd for speaking out, Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour should be listening carefully and acting on her fears.

Each and every time Mrs Clwyd has raised concerns – they have been proved correct.

I have asked the First Minister if he will work with me to facilitate joint discussions with Ann Clwyd – and, despite his response - I will continue to work towards this aim.

Case after case. Fault after fault. The deeply ingrained problems within Labour’s NHS are clear for all to see. 28,000 people – or a town the size of Pontypridd – had been waiting more than eight weeks for diagnostic services at the end of January. The First Minister’s shocking refusal to acknowledge this is a matter of great regret. Welsh communities deserve to see these problems being appropriately dealt with and cross-party discussions with Ann Clwyd can help achieve this.

– Andrew RT Davies AM, Leader of the Opposition

First Minister insists UK Government should pay for Valley Lines electrification

The First Minister has repeated his insistence that the UK Government should pay for the electrification of the South Wales Valleys Lines. Opponents and ministers in London say there was an agreement on sharing the costs.

But during First Minister's Questions in the Senedd, Carwyn Jones said comments by senior UK Government figures amounted to promises to pay the full bill.


Welsh tributes to Bob Crow

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has paid a warm tribute to Bob Crow, the union leader who's died at the age of 52. Mr Crow's Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' Union (RMT) was disaffiliated from the Labour party in 2004 over its support for other political groups.

This very sad news has come as a complete shock. Bob has been a tenacious advocate of the rights of members of the RMT. I’ve shared a platform with Bob: he has been a good friend to Plaid Cymru, having been a guest speaker at our party conference back in 2003 – the first UK trade union leader to do so.

Bob’s emphasis on placing the needs of his members above all else - including and especially party politics - will be sorely missed. We need more like Bob Crow.

He was fearless and would not back down in the face of frequent and unfounded attacks from the ‘right.’ He was also a firm and vocal opponent of the politics of austerity and was excellent at articulating that there is an alternative to the current, cosy Westminster consensus. He will be deeply missed by all on the left throughout the UK.

– Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood AM

Welsh Labour also issued a tribute on behalf of the First Minister.

Bob Crow was a highly respected trade unionist who tirelessly fought to deliver for his members. The trade union movement has lost one of its most prominent members.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

First Minister opens trading on Wall Street

First Minister Carwyn Jones rang the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street today to signal the start of trading.

Mr Jones is visiting the USA to raise the profile of Wales as a business destination.

First Minister to promote Wales in USA

The First Minister will spend three days in Washington before moving on to New York Credit: PA

First Minister Carwyn Jones is to travel to the USA in an attempt to raise the profile of Wales.

The Welsh Labour leader will spend three days in Washington, before moving on to New York.

The visit will include the launch of the 'Friends of Wales Caucus', made up of Congressmen and women with Welsh links.

They'll promote Wales in Washington by staging events on Capitol Hill and raising Welsh interest at the heart of US Government.

Mr Jones will also launch a walking tour in New York, celebrating famous Swansea-born writer Dylan Thomas, who reportedly died in the Big Apple after a marathon drinking session.

He's also planning to stage a number of business meetings with key US investors, including Airbus and the CEO of New York Stock Exchange.

First Minister: 'We are a great location for business'

First Minister Carwyn Jones is to travel to the USA in an attempt to raise the profile of Wales.

Speaking ahead of his visit he said,

It is the largest single destination for UK exports and is one of the biggest markets for Wales in terms of international trade.

Our programme of trade missions includes six further visits to the USA between now and the end of March 2015 - the first of which will be a delegation of more than 20 companies on a trade mission to San Francisco next month.

We have a clear message - we are a great location for business, with a skilled workforce, access to the European Single Market and a unique package of support.

– Carwyn Jones, First Minister
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