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Welsh Secretary on Tata's 'important milestone'

Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan says today marks an 'important milestone' in the work to assemble Blast Furnace No.4 at Tata Steel.

The next four months will see a period of intensive engineering activity as modules weighing over 500 tonnes will be lifted into place over the skies of its Port Talbot site.

Tata is clearly operating in an extremely challenging market – both domestically and internationally - but I am re-assured that Tata is fully committed to its investment in the UK. The company is one of our biggest employers in Wales and I look forward to seeing the new furnace taking shape over the coming months.

– Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan
  1. Adrian Masters

Condemnation of Shadow Welsh Secretary's 'disgusting' comments

A source close to the Secretary of State for Wales has condemned comments made by her Labour shadow in response to today's defence cuts. The source told me that Cheryl Gillan found Owen Smith's remarks (that 'her support wasn't worth a pitcher of warm spit') 'disgusting' adding that,

They contribute nothing to the debate on the future of our armed forces. Not only is he wrong to say that 600 people are losing jobs but incredibly naive if he thinks Wales can remain unscathed from difficult decisions made to fill the £38bn black hole Labour left.

People will look at these comments and question his character. After all this is the man who had to apologise for comparing spending cuts with domestic violence. He clearly hasn't learned lessons from that nor has he learned the art of making political points without being offensive.


Welsh Secretary: Jobs news underlines Swansea's 'pivotal' DVLA role

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan has just given this reaction to today's news:

The DVLA has continued to lead the way in Government in providing electronic services and there is a real case for the agency to provide a faster, more cost-effective and flexible service to its customers. The creation of up to 450 jobs at the agency’s Swansea headquarters underlines the pivotal role it continues to play in transforming its services fit for the 21st century.

It is a testament to the skills and expertise of the workforce that this centre of excellence will be strengthened, and will continue its long association with the city. While these planned closures will come as a disappointment to those affected in the regional offices in Wales, these employees will be offered redeployment opportunities to the Swansea headquarters or potentially to the wider civil service. I am reassured that the DVLA will do all they can to support their employees through these changes.

  1. Adrian Masters

Welsh Secretary 'not present in PM talks' gibe

Although it was her answer to Ian Lucas which sparked the cancelled Green Paper debate row, Cheryl Gillan, the Wrexham MP's question was actually about assurances the First Minister claims the Prime Minister gave him that there'd be no major change without the agreement of the Assembly.

The Welsh Secretary said,

I am not aware of any firm commitments made by the Prime Minister.

These comments were little noticed in the furore that followed her cancellation of the debate. But they were noticed by someone because a Welsh Government source said to me,

The Secretary of State's words today were carefully chosen. This is understandable, given she was not present when the PM and FM discussed this matter.


  1. Lynn Courtney

Cheryl Gillan in lively visit to the National Assembly for Wales

Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan has spent the afternoon addressing Assembly Members at the Senedd on the wide range of subjects that were contained in the legislative programme announced by the UK Government earlier this month.

She started, though by praising our armed forces.

Can I just begin by paying tribute to our armed forces who do so much stirling work at home and especially overseas. I think we all take a great pride in the valuable contribution Wales makes to our armed forces and want to pay tribute to those who have died in Afghanistan since we last met. Our thoughts are with their family and friends.

– Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan MP

She spoke about how it was two years since her last visit which was shortly after the UK coalition was formed and said the Government had achieved a lot since then.

Thirty two Acts, a reduced deficit , capped welfare, scrapped ID cards, raising of personal allowance allowing 95,000 people in Wales to be lifted out of tax altogether, much needed political and constitutional reform and we have fulfilled all of our three commitments to Wales in the coalition agreement.

First of all ,I took forward the housing legislature competence order which if you remember had been blocked. I enabled the referendum to be held under which the Assembly has assumed primary legislative powers in the 20 devolved areas and also established the Silk Commission .

– Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan MP

Mrs Gillan took questions on subjects as diverse as the Water Bill , electrification of the railway line to Swansea , the establishment of a Valleys Metro,Remploy workers, devolution of energy, the Barnet formula and this week's Green paper on Electoral reform , the latter which caused some reaction

I have expressed a preference but that doesn't mean to say I have a closed mind. I want to have ,don't laugh, I haven't got a closed mind. I'm very open minded about it.

– Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan MP
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