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Ed Miliband: There are 'huge challenges' facing Welsh hospitals and schools

Labour leader Ed Miliband has told ITV News there are 'huge challenges' facing Welsh hospitals and schools - but he also praised the work that the Welsh Government is doing.

Mr Miliband has faced months of taunts from Prime Minister David Cameron about the state of Wales' health and education services.

Today Mr Miliband held a summit with Welsh Labour leaders to thrash out how they'll defend the party's record in Wales ahead of the Westminster elections next year.

Ed Miliband 'incredibly proud' of Labour record in Wales

Ed Miliband told our Political Editor Adrian Masters he is "incredibly proud" of the Labour Welsh Government's record in Wales.

Visiting today alongside his Shadow Cabinet, he pointed to the success of Jobs Growth Wales, and defended its handling of the economy in Wales, and the NHS here.

He also laughed off a question about a tweet sent from the Labour press team, reading 'Everybody should have his own owl', after their Twitter account was apparently hacked.

Read More: Labour Party 'owler as their Twitter account is hacked

Watch our presenters' extended studio interview with Labour leader Ed Miliband on ITV News Cymru Wales at 6pm

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Senior Labour politicians in Q&A and South Wales visits

Labour leader Ed Miliband joined Owen Smith and Carwyn Jones for a Q&A session with workers at GE Aviation in Nantgarw this lunchtime.

Members of the Shadow Cabinet and Welsh Government ministers went out on a series of visits around South Wales.

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Shadow Welsh Sec Owen Smith, First Minister Carwyn Jones & Ed Miliband taking questions from GE staff at Nantgarw. http://t.co/3QuuvZ4O26

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Meeting over in Natngarw. Labour volunteers are driving Welsh ministers and Shadow cabinet counterparts away in twos on a series of visits.

'Labour 'blind date' won't dupe Wales' say Plaid

Plaid Cymru have dismissed the joint meeting of the Shadow Cabinet and Welsh Government cabinet as an attempt to dupe Wales at a time when youth unemployment remains high. Labour leader Ed Miliband has been praising the Welsh Government's Jobs Growth Wales scheme.

Wales doesn’t need an awkward, one-off blind date with a shadow cabinet that has very little understanding of the needs of our economy and communities. Wales will not be duped either by their ‘sweet-nothing’ statements on jobs when youth unemployment here is well above the UK average and in some areas in the valleys it soars to above 40%.

What Wales needs is a long term, meaningful commitment. Plaid Cymru wants to bring about investment in the Welsh economy; ensure fair funding for our communities and get a better deal for future generations. It’s about providing a strong voice for Wales in Westminster rather than being simply Westminster’s voice in Wales.

– Plaid Cymru Spokesperson

Shadow and Welsh Govt cabinets hold joint meeting

Labour's Shadow Cabinet and Welsh Government Cabinet have arrived at GE Aviation in Nantgarw to begin a joint meeting.

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Shadow Cabinet and Welsh Govt cabinet arriving for joint meeting at GE Aviation in Nantgarw near Caerphilly. http://t.co/1gxvlRyCcf

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Ed Miliband and Carwyn Jones with Shadow Welsh sec Owen Smith & GE chief exec http://t.co/r4SC13pdpf

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Ed Miliband begins joint mtg of shadow cabinet/Welsh Govt cabinet with tribute to his ‘very good friend Carwyn Jones http://t.co/cwjZfsTAeK

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Wales showing the way on jobs growth says Miliband

Ed Miliband has highlighted the Welsh government's Jobs Growth Wales programme during his visit to Nantgarw near Caerphilly. After a joint meeting of the Shadow cabinet and the Welsh cabinet, the Labour leader will address staff at the GE Aviation aircraft engine plant.

The scheme shows a Labour government delivering for young people right across Wales by helping them onto long-term careers so they can play their part in society. A future Labour Government in Westminster will ensure that those who don’t have the skills they need will be in training not on benefits, and will guarantee paid starter jobs for young people who have been out of work for a year. Jobs Growth Wales is an excellent example of how we can ensure young people are at work and in training.

– LABOUR LEADER ED MILIBAND MP

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Labour summit in Nantgarw

Members of the Labour Shadow cabinet at Westminster and ministers in the Welsh Government cabinet are gathering at the GE Aviation aircraft engine plant at Nantgarw near Caerphilly. It's their first joint meeting and is part of Labour's preparation for next year's UK General Election.

I am delighted that the Shadow Cabinet is holding a meeting at the site of one of the most important employers in the area. This really shows that Labour is well and truly in touch with the issues confronting people in this part of south Wales. I am sure that the visit will be an important staging post for the next election.

– Wayne David, MP for Caerphilly and Parliamentary Aide to Labour Leader Ed Miliband

Labour holds Welsh summit

by Nick Powell

Labour leader Ed Miliband is bringing his entire shadow cabinet to Wales later this morning for a joint meeting with Carwyn Jones and his ministers. Wales' role in next year's Westminster election seems likely to figure large in their discussions.

Labour is anxious to stress its achievements in the one part of the United Kingdom where the party is currently in government but also needs a strategy for fending off Conservative and Liberal Democrat attacks on its record in Wales, especially in health and education.

We have plenty to talk about. The next future Labour Government in Westminster will be grappling with the unbridled chaos that has been unleashed in the NHS in England and the fragmentation of the schools system. First and foremost however, Ed Miliband will need to deal with the cost of living crisis that continues to blight the lives of millions, despite the slow and slight improvement in the UK economy.

Welcoming Ed, and his team to Wales, I look forward to discussing and showcasing some of our policies that have protected our communities from the worst excesses of the Coalition Government. We are delighted, for example, that Rachel Reeves is looking to develop a new offer for young people based on Jobs Growth Wales. Other decisions we have taken in Wales, like the Council Tax Relief scheme and our equitable Tuition Fees policy have shown that even in tough times there are alternatives to the UK Government's austerity measures.

That isn't easy, however, when our budgets have been cut so severely by the Tory-led Government in Westminster. A real terms cut over the lifetime of this Assembly means that we have £1.7 billion less to spend on frontline services. This is on top of the £300 million a year that Wales is losing through the UK's unfair funding system.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

The way Wales is funded is one area where Carwyn Jones wants a commitment that a future Labour government at Westminster would offer a better deal. The last Labour Government didn't accept calls to end the system that limits Wales' share of any increase in public spending to its population share.

Labour criticised for "co-opted nationalism"

Rachel Banner has linked her departure from the Labour party to a comment she attributed to the Shadow Welsh Secretary, Owen Smith, that Labour has co-opted Welsh nationalism.

I have allowed my membership to lapse for the first time in 20 years. It's partly to do with Owen Smith saying that the Labour party has co-opted nationalism. I don't feel that I belong to the party any more.

– Rachel Banner

Owen Smith argued in a essay published last year that Labour had reaffirmed its position as the “true Party of Wales” by responding to a popular renaissance of Welshness and delivering devolution to Wales.

Rachel Banner leaves Labour

Sharp End guests 26/9/13
Rachel Banner (left) with her fellow guests Katie Dalton and Dafydd Elis-Thomas on Sharp End Credit: ITV News, Adrian Masters

Rachel Banner, the Labour politician from Islwyn who was the face of the 2011 'No' campaign in the referendum on increasing the Assembly's powers, has told tonight's 'Sharp End' that she has left the Labour party after 20 years.

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