Carwyn Jones

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The Right Honourable
Carwyn Jones
AM
Carwyn Jones 2011.jpg
First Minister of Wales
Incumbent
Assumed office
10 December 2009
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Rhodri Morgan
Leader of Welsh Labour
Incumbent
Assumed office
1 December 2009
Preceded by Rhodri Morgan
Counsel General for Wales
In office
19 July 2007 – 9 December 2009
First Minister Rhodri Morgan
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by John Griffiths
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for Bridgend
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 1999
Preceded by Constituency Created
Majority 6,775 (28.2%)
Personal details
Born (1967-03-21) 21 March 1967 (age 47)
Swansea, Wales
Political party Welsh Labour
Spouse(s) Lisa
Children 2
Alma mater University of Wales
Inns of Court
Profession Barrister
Website Welsh Labour

Carwyn Howell Jones (born 21 March 1967) is a Welsh politician and the First Minister of Wales. The third politician to lead the Welsh Government, Jones has been Assembly Member for Bridgend since 1999. In the coalition government of Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru, he was appointed Counsel General for Wales and Leader of the House on 19 July 2007. He was elected to succeed Rhodri Morgan as the Leader of Welsh Labour on 1 December 2009. On 9 December he was nominated as First Minister by the National Assembly, and was sworn into office the following day.[1] Along with a number of other Assembly Members, he is a fluent Welsh speaker, and is also a member of Amnesty International and the Fabian Society.

Biography[edit]

Born in Swansea, he was raised in Bridgend in a fluent Welsh speaking family.[2] He was a pupil at Brynteg Comprehensive School in Bridgend, and then studied at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth,[3] where he joined the Labour Party during the Miners' Strike.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Carwyn Jones graduated from Aberystwyth University with a LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree in 1988 and went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London to train as a barrister.[3] He was called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1989 and subsequently spent a further year in Cardiff in pupillage followed by ten years in practice at Gower Chambers, Swansea - specialising in Family, Criminal and Personal Injury law.[4]

He left the Swansea legal practice to become a tutor at Cardiff University for two years on the Bar Vocational Course.[3] Jones has warned students studying for a law degree at Aberystwyth "Don’t assume that it’s a passport to a job. Ten times more lawyers graduate than can be found jobs."[5]

Jones said in a BBC interview [6] that he subsequently considered trying to become an MP, but in 1999, "had a chance" to stand for the Bridgend constituency in first elections for the Welsh Assembly - a seat which he has held ever since.

Personal life[edit]

Married to Lisa (a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland),[4] the couple have two children, Seren haf and Ruairi Wyn. Jones enjoys sport, following both codes of rugby in Bridgend. He also enjoys walking, cycling and golf.[2] Jones is patron of Kenfig Hill Male Voice Choir.[3]

Political career[edit]

Jones was a County Borough Councillor for Bridgend for five years, where he eventually chaired the Labour group.[3]

Jones became a Member of the National Assembly of Wales for Bridgend in 1999.[3]

Jones was appointed Deputy Secretary in the National Assembly for Wales in March 2000. In July 2000, he was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Welsh Government, before the title was changed to Minister in October 2000. His responsibilities in this role included the environment, countryside issues, town and country planning, sustainable development, agriculture and rural development. In June 2002, his brief was expanded when he was appointed Minister for Open Government in addition to his other duties. During this time, he was responsible for the Welsh response to the 2001 Foot and Mouth disease outbreak.[2]

After the 2007 election, he was appointed Minister for Education, Culture and the Welsh Language, responsible for the Department for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills and the Culture, Welsh Language and Sport portfolios. After his party entered into coalition with Plaid Cymru, Jones was reappointed as Counsel General for Wales and Leader of the House.

Following the announcement of Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister Rhodri Morgan in September 2009 that he would be resigning both posts in December 2009, Jones entered the subsequent election to become his successor, where his opponents were Edwina Hart and Huw Lewis. On 1 December 2009, Jones was elected the new Leader with over 50% of the vote.[1][7]

First Minister of Wales[edit]

After winning the leadership election in 2009, Jones was confirmed as the third First Minister of Wales on 9 December 2009.[1][7] Since the defeat of the Labour Party in the 2010 United Kingdom general election, and the resignation of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, Jones has become the most senior Labour elected representative and government minister in the United Kingdom. He was appointed as a Privy Counsellor on 9 June 2010.[8] Following the 2011 elections to the Welsh Assembly, Labour increased their number of seats to just one under the amount needed for a majority. Jones opted to form a minority government as opposed to continuing the coalition, allowing Labour to govern alone.

Controversy[edit]

“Blame London for Everything”[edit]

As First Minister, Carwyn Jones has been criticised for an alleged tendency to blame the Conservative-led UK Coalition Government for the woes of the Welsh economy in order to deflect criticism of his Welsh Labour Government. In November 2011 the then leader of Plaid Cymru Ieuan Wyn Jones said at First Minister’s questions “We've had a programme for government that contains no targets. We've had no action around the economy. The only conclusion I can draw from your failure to act is that you have decided to sit back, let the economic crisis do its worst and blame the Tories for everything. Don't you think our young people deserve better than that?" [9] On 8 September 2012 UK Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg also accused Carwyn Jones of “blaming London for everything” rather than taking action himself. Mr Clegg said “My view has been for some time now that Carwyn Jones and his colleagues have alighted on a very simple political strategy which is do very little and blame a lot.I think people are starting to tire of the endless finger-pointing from Labour in Cardiff. They want things to happen. Mr Clegg said the First Minister “is very good at blaming London for everything and terrifically stirring in his speeches about how more needs to be done to help the Welsh economy and yet he does exactly the reverse.” Mr Clegg claimed the Coalition Government was is “doing all the heavy lifting, not the Welsh Government”.[10] A spokesman for Carwyn Jones, said: “We’ve again witnessed another graceless visit to Wales by Nick Clegg. People would be right to ask themselves – why does he bother coming to Wales, if all he wants to do is hurl insults about issues that he’s clearly very poorly briefed on? The fact is, the Welsh Government is utterly focused on making up for the failure of the UK Government to stimulate adequate and sustainable growth to enable Welsh companies to survive and expand during these extremely difficult times. Business leaders right across Wales are telling us they need much more support from the UK Government. So they’ll be scratching their heads at the incoherence of the Deputy Prime Minister’s message and the paucity of ideas emanating from the UK Government. Wales deserves much better than this.” [10]

Cardiff Airport[edit]

On 28 February 2012 Jones told the Welsh Assembly "We would like to see many routes emerging from Cardiff Airport, but the airport must get its act together... Last week, I went to the airport and the main entrance was shut. People could not go in through the main entrance; they had to go through the side entrance. It is important that the airport puts itself in a position where it is attractive to new airlines, and, unfortunately, that is not the case at present." . His criticism led to accusations that he was "talking down" Cardiff Airport whilst aviation industry professionals commented he was out of his depth in this area. However Carwyn Jones returned to this theme on 7 March 2012 saying "With the condition of the airport at the moment I would not want to bring people in through Cardiff Airport because of the impression it would give of Wales...I have to say the time has come now for the owners of the airport to decide to run the airport properly or sell it." Byron Davies AM, Shadow Minister for Transport, said: “It is a bit rich for the First Minister to publicly attack and run down Cardiff Airport, when he has failed to seize opportunities, which would massively increase the range of routes available from Cardiff, introduce direct routes to North America, opening our economy to trade and business with one of the world’s biggest economies".[11] LibDem AM Eluned Parrot said: “The First Minister needs to stop talking our capital city’s airport down and instead he should be doing all he can to encourage visitors to Cardiff Airport.His comments are hardly going to encourage tourism and business to Wales.[12] On 20 March 2012 Carwyn Jones, undaunted, again attacked Cardiff Airport saying "business people" had complained to him "week after week, for many months about the airport." He asserted he had put their points to the owners of the airport but "they have been met with a shrug of the shoulders. That is just not good enough. I know of situations, and have seen them myself, where people have been locked in the baggage hall and where the front door was not open and people had to go in through a side door—I had to do that the last time I used the airport." [13] On 29 May 2012 it was announced Carwyn Jones would personally chair a "Task Force" on Cardiff Airport with the aim of “maximising its economic impact, commercially and for Wales”.[14] On 27 June 2012 the Task Force, comprising tourist chiefs, local government spokesmen and trade unionists, met for the first time. No airlines were invited to attend.[15] A bid to obtain the full minutes of the meeting under the Freedom of Information Act was refused by the Information Commissioner [16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Jones is new Welsh Labour leader". BBC Wales. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Profile: Carwyn Jones". BBC Wales. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Profile of Carwyn Jones". Wales Online. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "5mins with Carwyn Jones". BBC Wales. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  5. ^ http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/development/alumniprofiles/some-notable-alumni/carwynjones/
  6. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8353738.stm
  7. ^ a b "Carwyn Jones clinches leadership in Wales". Wales Online. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "Privy Council appointments, 9 June 2010". Privy Council. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  9. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/nov/08/plaid-cymru-attack-labour-economy?intcmp=239
  10. ^ a b http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/09/08/nick-clegg-attacks-carwyn-jones-blame-london-culture-91466-31791359/
  11. ^ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/welsh-politics/welsh-politics-news/2012/03/19/cardiff-new-york-air-route-worth-200m-a-year-to-wales-report-reveals-91466-30555394
  12. ^ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/03/13/first-minister-under-fire-for-attack-on-cardiff-airport-91466-30526534
  13. ^ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/03/20/carwyn-jones-renews-attack-on-not-good-enough-cardiff-airport-91466-30585631
  14. ^ http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2012/05/29/cardiff-airport-to-be-targeted-by-task-force-says-carwyn-jones-91466-31067227
  15. ^ http://wales.gov.uk/topics/transport/public/air/cardiffairporttaskforce/?lang=en
  16. ^ http://wales.gov.uk/publications/accessinfo/disclogs/dr2012/julsep/transport1/dltra103/?lang=en

External links[edit]

National Assembly for Wales
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Assembly Member for Bridgend
1999–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Rhodri Morgan
First Minister of Wales
2009–present
Incumbent
Legal offices
Preceded by
Office Created
Counsel General for Wales
2007–2009
Succeeded by
John Griffiths
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rhodri Morgan
Leader of Welsh Labour
2009–present
Incumbent