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Lib Dems claim Tory threat to education budget

After Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb attacked Labour over standards in Welsh schools, the Conservatives are being accused by the Liberal Democrats of threatening education in Wales. Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott, who has stepped down as a Lib Dem minister in the Westminster coalition, claims that the Tories are planning to "slash education spending in England", which would lead to an equivalent cut in the Welsh Government's funding.

The Tories' plans to slash funding for schools, nurseries and colleges in England in the next parliament would have dire consequences for Wales. The Tories want to run schools for profit and bring back grammar schools: that is their priority. It’s all very well David Cameron talking a good game on education, but we all know that without the Liberal Democrats holding him back in coalition, he would have cut school spending.

– Jenny Willott MP

The Westminster Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has said that she is "absolutely fighting" for the schools budget in England to be protected if the Conservatives form the next government. First Minister Carwyn Jones has committed Labour to increasing Welsh school budgets by an extra 1% every year until the funding gap with schools in England is closed.

The Lib Dems are arguing for the education budget in both countries to be protected "from cradle to college". The Welsh Secretary's claim that Labour's record on education in Wales is "a much bigger scandal" than its running of the NHS was dismissed by a spokesman for Education Minister Huw Lewis as "the latest salvo in the war on Wales .... putting Welsh teachers and pupils in the firing line".

Lib Dem president praises Willott

The Liberal Democrats' party president, Tim Farron, has praised Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott. Ms Willott resigned from the UK Coalition government to focus on issues affecting her constituency.

She's defended herself against accusations from her Labour opponents that she's 'neglected' her constituency. And she won the backing of Tim Farron on twitter.

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Willott's resignation is 'shameful admission' says Labour

One of Jenny Willott's challengers in her Cardiff Central constituency has called her resignation from government a 'shameful admission' that the Liberal Democrat MP has 'neglected her constituency.'

Ms Willott says she's stepping down from her job as Assistant Whip to focus on her constituency. Labour's parliamentary candidate, Jo Stevens, said:

Voters in Cardiff Central will see this resignation for what it really is - a shameful admission that Jenny Willott has neglected her constituency.

It is completely arrogant of the Lib Dems to think that having delivered the Bedroom Tax, given a £100,000 tax cut to millionaires and trebled tuition fees that people will conveniently forget what they have done.

– Jo Stevens, Labour Parliamentary Candidate

Clegg hopes Willott will return to government

The Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, says he hopes to see Jenny Willott back in government after next year's General Election. The Cardiff Central MP has stepped down as Assistant Whip in order to concentrate on her constituency.

In his reply to her resignation letter, Mr Clegg thanks Ms Willott for a 'fantastic job' in government.

Dear Jenny, Thank you for the excellent job that you have done over the past two and a half years as an Assistant Government Whip, ensuring that the coalition has been successful in getting important liberal reforms through parliament.

I am also very grateful to you for your work as Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs Minister and Minister for Women and Equalities, providing maternity cover to Jo Swinson. You did a fantastic job, which has been widely praised.

I fully understand your desire to stand down from the whips role in the final months of this parliament so you can speak in parliament and focus on your constituency but I very much hope that we will have the opportunity of working alongside each other in government after the next election.

Best wishes,

Nick

– Nick Clegg letter to Jenny Willott

Cardiff MP Jenny Willott quits government role

Jenny Willott said she wanted to concentrate on her role as constituency MP. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Jenny Willott has quit as Assistant Government Whip to concentrate on her constituency MP role, it has been confirmed.

Ms Willott, who moved to Cardiff 14 years ago, is the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said he understands her decision, while Welsh Secretary and fellow MP Stephen Crabb said he would be sorry to see her leave.

Cardiff MP to make Lib Dem history at cabinet table

Jenny Willott is the MP for Cardiff Central Credit: ITV News

Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott will become the first Liberal Democrat woman to sit at the cabinet table today.

Although she does not have full cabinet minister rank, the 39 year old will take her seat alongside new women's minister, Tory MP Nicky Morgan, to make a presentation on coalition efforts to close the gender pay gap.

In her new role, Ms Willott will promote more family-friendly workplaces and tackle issues around discrimination. She will attend cabinet when issues related to shared parental leave and workplace rights are on the agenda.

Ms Willott said: "This is a really exciting opportunity to tackle an issue I'm passionate about at the very heart of government.

"I'm looking forward to sitting around the cabinet table to promote longstanding Liberal Democrat priorities such as making workplaces more family-friendly and closing the gender pay gap."

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BUDGET: 'Good for Cardiff' says Lib Dem MP

Welsh Lib Dem MP and Government Whip Jenny Willott says her Cardiff Central constituents will benefit from the Budget.

This Budget is good news for Cardiff. The Chancellor announced that our city will receive £12 million for ultra-fast broadband, and that Westminster will work with the Welsh Government to look at electrification of the Valleys railway lines.The Coalition is doing all this whilst making sure that rich pay more. The Government is introducing measures that mean the richest in society will pay five times more than they currently do through the 50p highest rate of tax. This Budget has the Lib Dems stamped all over it.”

– Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott