Yorkshire MP replaced by Devon MP in Wales Office

Kevin Foster. Picture by Chris McAndrew. (CC BY 3.0)

An MP from Devon has been appointed a minister in the Wales Office after the previous incumbent, an MP from North Yorkshire, quit yesterday.

Torbay MP Kevin Foster has been appointed as an unpaid minister to the Wales Office, replacing Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams.

Kevin Foster has also been appointed to two other roles – an assistant Government whip and a Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office while a colleague is on maternity leave.

Nigel Adams MP became the fourth minister to quit the Wales Office within a year yesterday, saying that the decision to turn to Jeremy Corbyn to get a deal through Parliament was a “grave error”.

“It now seems that you and your cabinet have decided that a deal – cooked up with a Marxist who has never once in his political life, put British interests first – is better than no deal,” he said in a letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said he was “disappointed to see Nigel leave government and would like to thank him for all his work and efforts as a minister”.

“My department and I are committed to delivering on our priorities,” he said.

Yesterday, Labour’s Shadow Welsh Secretary Christina Rees and Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville-Roberts called on Alun Cairns to quit.

“To lose one Welsh Office Minister may be regarded as a misfortune, but to lose four – in a single year – looks like carelessness,” Liz Saville-Roberts said.

“The almost constant churn of Wales Office Ministers shows the fundamentally dysfunctional nature of this Westminster Government.

“The people of Wales must be questioning whether the lack of consistency in the Wales Office is the reason why we are so invisible in the minds of the Westminster Government.”

Labour AM Alun Davies said it was “another reason why the Wales Office should be abolished”.

‘Disappointed’

Today, a Plaid Cymru AM labelled the Secretary of State for Wales’ attitude towards Welsh Assembly ‘disgraceful’.

In a debate on the findings of the Welsh Assembly Finance Committee’s report on the Implementation of Fiscal Devolution in Wales in the Assembly yesterday, Rhun ap Iorwerth criticised the Secretary of State’s attitude towards the National Assembly.

Conclusion One of the report noted the committee was ‘deeply disappointed in the Secretary of State’s lack of engagement on the constitutionally important issue’, after the Secretary of State, Alun Cairns MP, declined the Committee’s request to attend a formal evidence session.

“I tend to feel that the attitude of the Secretary of State towards us as an institution is disgraceful,” Rhun ap Iorwerth said.

“In a letter sent by the Secretary of State to the Chair of the Finance Committee he mentions being accountable to Parliament in Westminster and not to the National Assembly.

“Well, the National Assembly for Wales is a democratically elected body representing the interests of the people of Wales. If this Assembly and its committee see fit to hold anyone to account, it is our responsibility to do that, and it’s not for Alun Cairns or any other Minister of the state to set himself above accountability to the people of Wales. I can’t make that point any stronger.

“It is entirely crucial that we can ask questions of Wales’s representative in Westminster and that he hears directly from us, as a democratically elected body here in Wales, exactly what our concerns are and the kind of assurances that we’re seeking on a range of issues.”


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