First Commons Questions for new Welsh Secretary

Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones MP Credit: Clive Gee/PA Wire

Clywd West MP David Jones answers questions in the House of Commons for the first time since he was appointed Secretary of State for Wales in David Cameron's reshuffle last month. The warm welcome he can expect from MPs of all parties won't last long though as opposition parties seek to challenge him and his government.

In fact his opposite number, Owen Smith, has already put the pressure on the new Welsh Secretary, accusing him of 'disrespecting devolution.' As proof, the Pontypridd MP points to decisions to refer to the Supreme court the first two Bills to be passed under the Assembly's new lawmaking powers:

In this instance David Jones was more than ready to intervene but, on other matters, such as ensuring ballot papers for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections are printed bilingually and on changing the way Assembly Members are elected, there’s been a deafening silence.

He should get chance to raise both of those matters: amongst the topics scheduled are questions on Police Commissioners and a loaded one on the so-called 'Respect Agenda' between the two governments.

Expect that to be called into question throughout, particularly when the GCSE row is reignited: it's due to be one of the subjects debated.

It may be his first time as the main act but David Jones is no stranger to the verbal assaults from the other side of the despatch box, having acted as deputy for his predecessor Cheryl Gillan.

Since he was appointed, he's gone to great lengths to try to restart the Respect Agenda, saying that the two governments have to work together in the interests of Wales. By and large, the Welsh Government has taken him at his word and stepped back from the outright hostility which had characterised the relationship.

I understand that the role of attacking the Welsh Secretary has been left to his Shadow. That's an arrangement, they're both likely to relish, having clashed before in exchanges which have often been notable for their bitterness and stinging language.