Owen Smith

The rapid rise of Owen Smith

Owen Smith joins the Shadow Cabinet after two years as an MP. But he is no new boy. He was first linked to the Wales Office 10 years ago.

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Peter Hain angered at Bahrain GP

A leading welsh politician has told ITV Wales News of his dismay that the Bahrain Grand Prix has gone ahead.

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'Bloody terrorism' will continue without Middle East breakthrough says Hain

Neath MP Peter Hain tells our Political Editor Adrian Masters more about his concerns about the long-held, long-term aim for peace in the Middle East. In a lecture at Swansea he says a 'two-state solution' may no longer be achievable.

Speaking as a former Middle East Minister, Mr Hain says there are formidable difficulties in the way of creating a single state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians. But he says unless a solution is found 'the conflict and the bloody terrorism' in the region will continue.

Hain questions 'two-state' aim for Middle East

The former cabinet minister, Peter Hain, has questioned whether or not a long-held aim for peace in the Middle East is achievable. He makes the remarks in a public lecture at Swansea University tonight.

Speaking as a former minister with responsibility for the Middle East, the Neath MP says the 'two-state solution' of a separate Israel and Palestine existing side by side is looking increasingly unlikely because of sustained Israeli settlement on land earmarked for a possible Palestinian state.

And he says it may be time to consider an alternative solution: a single state with Israelis and Palestinians given equal rights.

I am both a long standing supporter of the Palestinian cause and a friend of Israel. As a British Minister for the Middle East in 1999-2001 I worked closely with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. My record of fighting apartheid, racism and anti-Semitism is long and recognised.

For two decades I have favoured a two-state solution as the best plan for peace and the fairest outcome, one backed by the US, the United Nations, the European Union and all 22 countries of the Arab League. Officially, it’s the stated policy of the current Israeli government and of the Palestinian Authority.

But I am increasingly unsure about whether it’s still achievable – mainly because, as time has marched on, and successive negotiating initiatives have come and gone, the land earmarked for a viable Palestinian state has been remorselessly occupied by Israeli settlers.

– Peter Hain MP

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Buyers found for two Welsh Remploy factories

by Nick Powell

Remploy says it's received bids for its factories in Porth and Port Talbot. The news comes as the company also announced it's to close a further nine of its factories across the UK. The company, which provides jobs for disabled workers says it hopes to complete the Porth sale by mid-August.

Remploy's been shrinking its business because the Westminster government wants it to operate on a commercial basis. Today, the minister for the disabled, Esther McVey, told MPs that the Port Talbot factory "remains in the commercial process". That did not reassure the MP for Neath, Peter Hain.

Is not the truth that amid all the minister’s spin and management-speak, she is strangling Remploy to death, and there is no prospect of the most vulnerable disabled workers in their 50s who work there all the time getting jobs in mainstream employment? Also, she has given no guarantees ... and nor has the preferred bidder, who is based in Yorkshire, that the Neath Port Talbot site at Baglan will remain open. Can she give a guarantee on that now?

– Peter Hain MP

There was no spin in what I said ... as for his comment about strangling, that is incorrect, too. I would say “liberating”. That is why some of the factories that closed have reopened and we are supporting them as best we can.

– Minister for the Disabled Esther McVey MP

The Wales Office said efforts to find jobs for former Remploy workers were having some success.

This Government's priority throughout this process has been to safeguard jobs for disabled people. 200 personal case workers have been made available to provide individual support to Remploy workers affected by the changes . Through the tailored nature of this support package, 130 former Remploy workers in Wales have found new work. I welcome the news that a number of high quality bids have been received for the Remploy site in Port Talbot and Porth. Remploy will [have] the aim of protecting as many jobs for disabled employees as possible."

– Wales Office Minister Stephen Crabb MP

Andrews resignation 'catastrophic' - Hain

Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain describes the resignation of Leighton Andrews as 'catastrophic for Welsh Labour.' Fellow Welsh Labour MP Wayne David also tweeted that he was 'flabbergasted.' Even Conservative MP Alun Cairns paid tribute to Mr Andrews.

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Leighton Andrews resigning is catastrophic for Welsh Labour incredibly able and dynamic Education Minister refused to accept low standards

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Am flabbergasted! @leightonandrews has resigned as Welsh Education Minister. "Apparent conflict" re his educ policy and ints of local school

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@leightonandrews was the brightest (although I disagreed with him) in @welshgovernment, I wonder how @fmwales will now manage?

Labour leaders promise a productive partnership

Carwyn Jones and Owen Smith
First Minister and Shadow Welsh Secretary meet in Cardiff Bay Credit: ITV Wales News

Owen Smith and Carwyn Jones have held their first meeting since Mr Smith's appointment as the Shadow Welsh Secretary. Afterwards they gave a joint interview outside the Senedd. Mr Smith said they were old friends with similar views and he was looking forward to a 'productive powerful partnership'.

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Owen Smith confirmed as new Shadow Welsh Secretary

Owen Smith
Owen Smith has been the MP for Pontypridd since 2010 Credit: ITV News Wales

Pontypridd MP Owen Smith has been confirmed as the new Shadow Welsh Secretary. He replaces Peter Hain who confirmed yesterday that he was stepping down from the role in order to campaign for a Severn Barrage.

Mr Smith will be giving his first TV interview in Wales Tonight at 6pm

Owen Smith MP is 'definitely' new Shadow Welsh Secretary

There is still no official news on the new Shadow Welsh Secretary, but ITV Wales understands that Pontypridd MP Owen Smith is most likely to get the job. One source has told ITV Wales' Political Editor that he has 'definitely' got the job.

No formal announcement has yet been made but an announcement is likely within the next few days.

Peter Hain announced earlier this week that he would stand down from the role to concentrate on campaigning for a Severn barrage.

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