Wales politics

Welsh Labour conference: Ed Miliband's praise for Welsh government

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Media captionEd Miliband says Welsh Labour is helping the party's fight back to power at Westminster

Labour leader Ed Miliband said First Minister Carwyn Jones is showing the difference a Labour government can make, during a session at the party's Welsh spring conference in Llandudno.

Mr Miliband also revealed that he was "open to all ideas" with regards to the future of policing.

Mr Jones recently called for policing to be devolved to Wales.

It was the first time Mr Miliband addressed the issue directly.

Mr Miliband spoke to delegates during a question and answer session at the conference on Sunday.

He said the Silk Commission, which is looking at the scope of the Welsh assembly's powers, was looking at devolved policing and he indicated his party would respond once the commission had reported.

Mr Miliband told the conference that "Welsh families and people across Wales are facing a perfect storm" amid the economic downturn and UK coalition cuts, and the Welsh first minister was offering the "only protection" to these people.

He spoke about the importance of having Labour in power in the Welsh assembly and local government in Wales, adding that "in order to provide real protection we need a Labour government in Westminster".

The conference was told that Labour's shadow cabinet would visit Wales in the run-up to the 2015 general election to learn from Labour assembly members.

Mr Miliband went on to criticise chancellor George Osborne's Budget last week, describing his actions as "the captain of the Titanic sailing forward towards the iceberg".

He said Britain needed a "Labour budget" and set out some of the measures he would include to improve the state of the economy.

These would include a new house building programme, bringing back the 10p tax rate and reforming the banking system.


In response to a question about what he would say on the doorstep to someone who was intending to vote for UKIP, Mr Miliband replied by saying that although Labour had not "got it wrong" in terms of increasing diversity within Britain, what they had "got wrong was not getting a system that was better managed".

"Let's have a multi-ethnic Britain, but let's make it work for all," he said.

"Let's have tough labour standards to make sure that workers are not undercut. Brushing the problem under the carpet would be the wrong thing to do."

Meanwhile, Mr Jones said the Welsh government was close to a deal with the owners of Cardiff Airport that would bring the troubled business under the control of his ministers.

The first minister said he wanted the airport to be "iconic for Wales", and told the conference: "When I go abroad people always ask me if Wales has an international airport - what it gives us is a certain level of kudos."

At the end of 2012, the Welsh government confirmed it intended to buy Cardiff Airport from the Spanish-owned Abertis group following a fall in the number of passengers using the airport.

Mr Jones also told the conference that he was confident Labour could become the biggest party in Anglesey after the council election was held there in May.

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