David Cornock, Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

The place to come for the Welsh view of Westminster and updates on the politics and personalities of Parliament

Plaid bid to devolve air passenger duty rejected by MPs

10 April 2014

You have three MPs. How do you get noticed in a parliament of 650?

Plaid Cymru's strategy is to highlight issues where there are differences between the Welsh Labour government and Welsh Labour MPs. Plaid put themselves on the side of the Welsh government and call votes on which Labour MPs are unlikely to support them. The vote is usually followed by a "Labour betrayal" press release expressing Plaid Cymru's shock that their opponents failed to support them.

So last night, as MPs debated the Finance Bill, Plaid forced a debate and a vote on the devolution of air passenger duty. The party's Treasury spokesman, Jonathan Edwards, told the Commons that the absence of APD from the Wales Bill currently going through parliament was - and this may not surprise students of the Plaid Cymru thesaurus - "a slap in the face to Wales". Perhaps only time considerations prevented it from being called "a snub to Wales" too.

Plaid had no expectation of winning last night's vote but hoped to highlight differences between Labour in Wales and Westminster.

Mr Edwards and his colleagues pointed out that First Minister Carwyn Jones has said: "Air passenger duty is another tax that should, in my view be devolved. While London struggles with where to build additional airport capacity, we in Wales face a very different problem. Our national airport in Cardiff has not enjoyed the growth in passenger numbers and destinations that we need to help drive economic growth. Devolution of air passenger duty would give us a useful tool to incentivise the growth of Cardiff airport and other smaller facilities, such as Anglesey in north Wales. APD has already been devolved to Northern Ireland for long-haul flights; at a minimum, I believe Wales should have parity."

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Maria Miller relives her Welsh comprehensive schooldays

9 April 2014

One sentence stood out for me from Maria Miller's letter of resignation to the prime minister.

"As a working mother," wrote the out-going culture secretary, "educated at a South Wales comprehensive school, I know that it is our party that understands the importance of giving everyone the opportunity to succeed regardless of where they come from."

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David Cameron and the NHS in Wales (episode 31)

9 April 2014

It's Wednesday, it's 12 o'clock and it's that time of the week again, the 30-minute "window" where David Cameron gets the chance to criticise Labour's running of the NHS in Wales.

This time the question came from Vale of Glamorgan Tory MP Alun Cairns, who suggested the Welsh government could be undermining the operation of the armed forces because soldiers had to wait longer for treatment.

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MPs in starting blocks for London Marathon

8 April 2014

As political photo-opportunities go, it was slightly unusual. Ed Balls was wearing tights.

The shadow chancellor was jogging alongside eight other MPs who are taking part in this Sunday's Virgin Money London Marathon. Vale of Glamorgan Tory MP Alun Cairns is flying the flag for Wales in what will be his third marathon.

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The 'War on Wales' - news from the trenches

8 April 2014

Greetings from the frontline of what Labour has designated the "war on Wales", which probably makes me a war correspondent.

Here's a despatch from last night's House of Lords battle, sorry debate. The "war on Wales" phrase is now routinely dropped in to Labour press releases, speeches, statements and possibly everyday conversations in Welsh Labour circles. Alliteration has a lot to answer for.

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How do you solve a problem like Maria?

7 April 2014

Five days after that 32-second apology in the House of Commons, Maria Miller continues to generate awkward headlines.

Speculation about the culture secretary's future won't go down well either in Downing Street or in the Wales Office. With David Cameron standing by his minister, the more mischievous speculation among MPs and journalists at Westminster suggests that rather than sacking Mrs Miller, the prime minister could move her to a lower-profile role - such as secretary of state for Wales - in the reshuffle expected at the end of next month.

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Prime minister attacks Labour's NHS record in Wales

2 April 2014

Another question time, another prime ministerial attack on the Welsh government's running of the NHS.

Monmouth Tory MP David Davies lit the blue touchpaper, raising again the case of his constituent Mariana Robinson.

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The NHS, Roman baths - and a top tip from the Speaker

26 March 2014

Something unusual happened during Welsh Question Time in the House of Commons today. Both sides wanted to talk about the same subject.

Today, it was the NHS in Wales, an issue that at Westminster tends to be the topic of choice for Conservative MPs. Indeed, five of the seven questions tabled by Tories were about the Welsh health service.

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A nod, a lockstep, and new tax powers for Christmas

20 March 2014

You could call it a historic day, in the sense the term is usually deployed to mean something that hasn't happened before in Welsh politics.

The Wales Bill was introduced into the House of Commons early this afternoon. Just before half past one, Deputy Speaker Lyndsay Hoyle announced: "Presentation of Bill, Secretary of State David Jones." Pause. "Nod."

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George Osborne's Budget, the M4, and Wales

19 March 2014

Not so long ago, if a chancellor referred to M4 in his Budget speech the chances are he would be talking about the money supply.

With George Osborne, he is more likely - as he was today - to be talking about the M4 motorway linking London with south Wales. Two and a half years ago, the chancellor promised to work with the Welsh government to sort out congestion in the Newport area. I may have mentioned that yesterday.

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About David

David Cornock has been covering politics from Westminster for more than two decades.

He grew up near Penarth in South Wales and trained on the Western Mail.

He moved to London in 1988 and became the newspaper's political editor.

In 1995, he joined BBC Wales as its parliamentary correspondent.

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