New Welsh MP starts his 'top job' with maiden speech

Torfaen Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds
No notes: Nick Thomas-Symonds MP making his maiden speech

Torfaen Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds has become the first of the new intake of Welsh MPs to make his maiden speech in the House of Commons.

The new MP followed the tradition of maiden speeches. His was short, relatively uncontroversial, focused on his constituency and included a generous tribute to his predecessor.

That predecessor was Paul Murphy, former secretary of state for both Wales (twice) and Northern Ireland. "Above all," said Mr Thomas-Symonds, "Paul never forgot whilst holding these great offices on the national stage that his most important priority was always the people of the Eastern Valley."

He had done work experience for Mr Murphy in 1997, after which the then MP wrote a reference suggesting Mr Thomas-Symonds would one day end up with a "top job".

A lawyer, lecturer and political biographer before his election, the new Torfaen MP said he had been given a lot of advice since arriving at Westminster; the one that stuck in his mind was simply to "be yourself".

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One sentence, two countries: Wales and Scotland

"My government will also bring forward legislation to secure a strong and lasting constitutional settlement, devolving wide-ranging powers to Scotland and to Wales."

Scotland and Wales may have featured in the same sentence in the Queen's Speech but the two countries are being offered rather different devolution - at different speeds.

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What does SNP success mean for Plaid at Westminster?

Hywel Williams, Jonathan Edwards and Liz Saville Roberts
Plaid Cymru MPs Hywel Williams, Jonathan Edwards and Liz Saville Roberts

While the Labour and the Liberal Democrat leadership elections continue, Plaid Cymru have announced their new leader at Westminster.

It's Jonathan Edwards, the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. He replaces Elfyn Llwyd, who stood down at the election.

Read full article What does SNP success mean for Plaid at Westminster?

No office, no desk, no 'phone: the lot of the new MP

Stephen Kinnock MP
Stephen Kinnock: hot-desking while he waits for an office at Westminster

He may have a famous name but he doesn't have an office or a phone yet.

Stephen Kinnock, as the son of a former Labour leader, is one of the better-known among the 2015 intake of MPs.

Read full article No office, no desk, no 'phone: the lot of the new MP

Labour MP gives up frontbench job after election defeat

Huw Irranca-Davies MP
"The decision is entirely my own" - Huw Irranca-Davies leaves the Labour frontbench

A Welsh MP who was a minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown has quit the Labour frontbench.

Ogmore MP Huw Irranca-Davies said in a statement: "The decision is entirely my own. It has been a privilege to serve as a Minister and Shadow Minister alongside passionate and talented colleagues, and I do not rule out a return to the frontbench in future if the opportunity arises.

Read full article Labour MP gives up frontbench job after election defeat

100-day Welsh devolution law pledge unlikely to be met

A new law to give Wales more powers may not be introduced as quickly as a senior minister suggested during the election campaign.

I understand that even if the proposed Wales Bill is mentioned in the Queen's Speech at the state opening of parliament on May 27 it won't be among the early laws to be debated by MPs - despite Chancellor George Osborne promising Welsh legislation within 100 days of the election.

Read full article 100-day Welsh devolution law pledge unlikely to be met

Crabb stays at Wales Office: what next?

The smile as Stephen Crabb strolled along what has some newspapers have dubbed the "Downing Street catwalk" suggested good news.

David Cameron invites those he intends to retain or promote to walk through the front door of No 10 for the cameras. Those to be sacked are relieved of their duties behind closed doors in his Commons office.

Read full article Crabb stays at Wales Office: what next?

Results, powers and keeping up with the Joneses

Conservative Craig Williams (l) became an MP holding off from Labour
Conservative Craig Williams (left) holds off Labour to win Cardiff North

It appears Leanne Wood was right.

The Plaid Cymru leader told Nick Servini last month: "I caution you against too many comparisons with Scotland. We're different countries and the SNP and Plaid Cymru are different parties and we're on different stages of our devolution journey."

Read full article Results, powers and keeping up with the Joneses

An election like no other - and almost every other

Jamie Owen and David Cornock
Even our ties are impartial....Jamie Owen and David Cornock broadcasting live on the BBC Wales Election 2015 tour in Cardiff

It's almost time to return the hi-vis jacket and hard hat to the props department.

The 2015 general election campaign is virtually over (unless we have to do it all again in a few months). The polls suggest little has changed despite six weeks of frantic campaigning and constant media coverage.

Read full article An election like no other - and almost every other

The election questions even the experts can't answer

The BBC Wales General Election 2015 tour in Barry
The two-week BBC Wales General Election 2015 tour started in Barry

It has been suggested that this closely-fought election campaign is dull and uninspiring. Even boring. Or vanilla.

Perhaps as a political anorak I just have a higher boredom threshold than most voters. I'm certainly not surprised people find it dull - election night in 1997 was dramatic and exciting but the month that preceded it was pretty tedious.

Read full article The election questions even the experts can't answer