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Jo Stevens appointed Secretary of State for Wales

05 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Jo Stevens after retaining her seat in Thursday’s General Election

Sir Keir Starmer has appointed Jo Stevens Secretary of State for Wales in his new Cabinet, following Thursday’s General Election victory.

The Cardiff East MP previously served as Shadow Welsh secretary from October 2016 to January 2017 and from November 2021 to May 2024.

Ms Stevens said: “It is a real privilege to be appointed to the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales and to serve in Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s first Cabinet.

“Wales has a crucial role to play in powering the UK’s national renewal, contributing to our energy security and the industries that will deliver a prosperous future.

“My absolute priority is to deliver for Wales and work with the Welsh Government to stabilise the economy, drive investment and create jobs.

“As a result of our plans, people across Wales will share in that prosperity and we will tackle deprivation and poverty together.”

Ms Stevens added: “Under my leadership the Wales Office will once again be a steadfast advocate for Wales from within the UK Government, ensuring that Wales’s needs are prioritised, and its voice heard.
“I am determined to reset the relationship between the UK and Welsh Government.

“We will co-operate and work together to deliver better results for people in Wales.

“I am honoured to serve Wales and its people and bring about the change that our new government has promised.”

Working constructively

Welcoming the appointment, Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd Liz Saville Roberts said: “On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I extend my warmest congratulations to Jo Stevens MP on her appointment as Secretary of State for Wales.

“We look forward to working constructively with the new Wales Office and to a welcome change of tone in how the new government will treat Wales, as promised by Labour during the campaign.

“As a strengthened Plaid Cymru group in Westminster, we will work tirelessly on behalf of the people of Wales to hold this incoming Labour Government to account on its promises to Wales.

“Our public services are crying out for investment – so our top priority will be to demand the funding owed to the Welsh Government – funding the new Secretary of State herself demanded from the previous Conservative Government.

“It would be deeply disappointing if, in power, the Secretary of State decides to undermine the calls of Plaid Cymru and those of her own Labour Welsh Government.

“We will also continue making the case for an evidence-based devolution settlement, and for the conclusions of the Welsh Government-commissioned Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales to be respected by the new Wales Office and the new UK Government.

“If change is to mean anything more than a slogan, we need to see a shift away from the previous government’s obsession with centralising power in Westminster and a genuine desire to improve outcomes by making decisions closer to the people.”

Patronising

Ms Stevens sparked a row in the run up to the election after being accused of displaying a “patronising and contemptuous” attitude towards Wales in a general election interview.

She was heavily criticised after an interview with Catrin Haf Jones on S4C’s Y Byd yn ei Le programme, during which she backed Wales’ embattled First Minister, claimed HS2 doesn’t exist and refused to commit to devolving policing to Wales – something long called for by Labour in the Senedd.

Asked whether the Labour Party was “undermining devolution” by ignoring a vote of no confidence in Vaughan Gething, she branded the motion, “a political stunt by the Tories aided and abetted by Plaid Cymru”.

When she was quizzed about whether Wales would get consequential funding from HS2 if a Labour government came into power, she claimed the project is “no longer in existence”.

She said: “We don’t know how much money has actually been spent – we don’t know what money is left – if there is money left.”

Ms Stevens added: “I’m not going to make any guarantees about anything that is not in our manifesto because everything in our manifesto is costed – we’ve said where the money will come from and how we will pay for it.”

When questioned about the devolution of justice and policing to Wales, Ms Stevens described it as “fiddling around with structures and systems”.

She said: “No one would be forgiven for trying to rip up and reconstruct the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice at a time when crime is blighting our streets.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 days ago

Not just in Cardiff East…so that is the center of Cymru, is it…here we go again….

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
8 days ago

Congratulations Ms Stevens. Now please end a 488 year old injustice, by giving Wales back control of our own justice system.

Last edited 8 days ago by Mr Williams
Annibendod
Annibendod
8 days ago

Well, I had wondered if this new government would embrace British pluralism but from the off Starmer proclaimed his singular British Nationalism. I don’t hold out too much hope that the new Welsh Secretary will be any better. Indeed, I fear that she and our First Minister will merely be a vehicle for Labour’s agenda.

Last edited 8 days ago by Annibendod
Riki
Riki
8 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

English nationalism!!!!! When exactly did the Britons stop being British? Can anyone name a date? Welsh is an imposed Anglo Saxon term, sooner we drop it the better it will be for our nation and island. Never mind our history. If you are “Welsh”, you are saying your culture is no older that 200 years old!!!

Rob
Rob
8 days ago
Reply to  Riki

The britons started to become British between the 5th–9th centuries, according to AI.

Annibendod
Annibendod
8 days ago
Reply to  Riki

The English are British too. Also decended from the old Britons. Majority of people of white ethnicity in Britain are according to genetic studies. Our Nations are cultural not racial constructs.

John Powers
John Powers
8 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

The word English comes from Angle-ish referring to the Germanic tribe.

Last edited 8 days ago by John Powers
Riki
Riki
7 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

That not true! The study doesn’t take into account a thousand years of migration of the Britons to England and English to Wales. Ofcourse genetics will show a mixing. The fact remains that Wales was founded by Britons (British) and England was Founded by Anglo Saxons.

Riki
Riki
7 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

And where are the records that denote the English use of the term British and Briton for themselves. There isn’t any prior to the 1600s. The terms were solely in use by the English for the People they also knew as Welsh. Welsh = British = Briton = Cymry. The reason why in modern times they have a monopoly on the term British is because we call ourselves Welsh! A term that while we use it allows them to use British interchangeably for English. Effectively, we are giving them permission to use our ancient identity prescribed to us by the… Read more »

Shân Morgain
Shân Morgain
8 days ago

Firstly it’s questionable why we need a Sec State for Wales. We have a First Minister after all, even if the current placeholder is dubious. Ms. Stevens though sounds arrogant and condescending. As the new Sec State Wales all she could talk about was the weaker side of Wales, its poverty. That of course is due to loss of EU income not yet replaced as promised by Westminster, underpayment for Welsh waters providing the Midlands, and generally low allocation of funds from central Govt.) She feels ‘honoured’ – does she? Then why is she not honoured to serve the society… Read more »

Sian Davies
Sian Davies
8 days ago
Reply to  Shân Morgain

I understand that a recent report revealed that, despite EU funding, poverty in Wales continues!

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
8 days ago

I was interested to read that Jo Stevens said that “HS2 is ‘no longer in existence’”. Firstly, I would worry that she is somewhat under-informed as the project still exists and is being completed albeit to none of the planned destinations. Secondly, the comment seems to imply that if a project is no longer in existence then government debts in relation to it will not be paid. I know that funds are tight, but is the new Government seeking forgivness of all the debts left by the Tories? It might also seem that by the same logic the Brexit replacement… Read more »

Robarto
Robarto
8 days ago

This appointment is an insult to Wales particularly in light of the Catrin Haf Jones interview. Catrin’s excellent interview exposed Labour’s negative attitude to devolution. They are unionists to the core and have no interest in moving devolution forwards. Reform will benefit ultimately I fear.

John Ellis
John Ellis
8 days ago
Reply to  Robarto

I agree. I started off this year with the intention of voting Labour when the Westminster election was called, basically on three grounds: (a) It was a Westminster election and the way people cast votes surely has to take that hard fact into account. Even if voters in all 32 Welsh constituencies returned Plaid Cymru MPs, they’d be no more than a drop in the parliamentary ocean, given that the total complement of UK MPs is 650. (b) I’d been sceptical about Mark Drakeford when he was elected Welsh Labour leader because I thought that he would be a dull… Read more »

Riki
Riki
8 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Yeah, the idea that Westminster is the “British” Parliament is nothing short of ludicrous. The British Parliament is in Cardiff as it represents thee Britons!!!

Annibendod
Annibendod
8 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Agree with 99% of this. The only thing I take issue with is “Plaid Cymru’s hard-line nationalism.” Whilst there are undoubtedly hardline nationalists in Plaid, the party’s position (and that of the majority of members) is that of Welsh Nationhood realised by Democratic Statehood within a broader context of British Plurality. In other words a new British union of sovereign states much closer to the EU than the present UK which is itself a former imperialist, now nationalist construct which exerts a singular anglo-Britishness over the entire British Isles and a part of Ireland. That is the narrow and damaging… Read more »

John Ellis
John Ellis
7 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

I wouldn’t dissent from anything that you say; moreover, in reality I don’t think that there’s any significant difference between that and what I was also seeking to assert. I recall, some time back, an SNP politician saying in a TV interview that ‘if you live here, you’re one of us’, and that’s certainly how I see it and it’s the position which most Plaid Cymru supporters whom I’ve encountered appear to take. I’m English by upbringing, but I came to Wales as an undergraduate student back in the mid-’60s, with no initial intention of staying here. However I ended… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 days ago

Since Wales returned to being legislature in 2011 after a 619 year hiatus, then in 2020 had the restoration of our Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament, and how during the next Senedd election in 2026 will see our parliament size rise from 60 to 96 member to enable our newly restored democracy to function & scrutinize properly after years 27 years. And since the advent of devolution in 1997, first Assembly election in 1999, a successful legislative referendum on 2011, have saw various Tory governments merely tinker around the edges with various Wales Acts, have saw numerous Welsh Labour governments frustrated when… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by Y Cymro
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 days ago

Cymru is just as valuable to the new boss, how good an employer they will be remains to be seen, but the likes of Bute will ‘plow’ on and the rivers will not clean themselves…

‘Welsh Labour’ freed of ‘Tory’ shackles has got some proving to do…

My litmus test will be vanishing pot holes in Conwy County…

Can’t wait to visit the Beach Pavilion again…

Meg
Meg
8 days ago

A role the country has never needed. It’s just a One Nation Westminster viceroy to govern their occupied territories without bothering the new Prime Ministerial proxy puppet of Ginger Voldemort JKR

Valley girl
Valley girl
8 days ago

What about devolving our Crown Estate like it is in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

GaryCymru
GaryCymru
8 days ago
Reply to  Valley girl

That level of integrity and fairness from Westminster will doubtfully come to fruition.

Riki
Riki
8 days ago

And there we go, treated as a Province like we are Roman subjects! Wake up people of Wales! Good God.

Nia James
Nia James
8 days ago

London’s voice in Wales. It was telling that the BBC commentators didn’t even acknowledge her as she strolled up Downing Street. Wales is going to be further peripheralised under Starmer – an ardent centralist – and a supine loyal like Jo Stevens isn’t going to rock any Unionist boats.

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 days ago
Reply to  Nia James

Her comments pre election do not sound like there’s much real commitment to anything other than being a good servant to her master and his Party. Her adoration of the wide boy Gething is yet another symptom of her poor judgement.

Wynford Jones
Wynford Jones
7 days ago

As they say in the South – co ni off ‘to!

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
7 days ago

Well, who is responsible for policing and enforcing justice in the UK?

Seems to me that the Home Office and Ministry of Justice has been an unmitigated failure which strengthens the case for the devolution of Justice and Policing!

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