Reshuffle: Welsh changes and the Beard Liberation Front


I wouldn't say he was demob happy but David Jones was as cheerful as anyone who had just been sacked could be.

"I'm not unhappy," he told me shortly after leaving his Downing Street meeting with the prime minister. "It is right he should refresh his team. I have been in the Wales Office more than four years". [as both a junior minister and secretary of state]

"I fully understand the prime minister's position," said the Clwyd West MP. "I told the prime minister he has my total support."

Mr Jones said that anyone appointed to the cabinet knew that one day they would have this sort of conversation with the prime minister. He said he expected the reshuffle to be bigger than expected with a lot of departures from government.

He is expected to be replaced by his deputy, Stephen Crabb, Tory MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire. As I write, Mr Crabb has yet to hear the good news officially. He has been spotted at the French Embassy celebrating Bastille Day, although I expect his smartphone remains switched on.

Who will replace him? Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns has been the frontrunner, as I mentioned earlier, although there has been some concern in government circles of the reshuffle leaving North Wales under-represented. Perhaps Guto Bebb, from Aberconwy, should check his 'phone is fully charged too.

Mr Crabb is expected to strike a different tone. The ministerial Jag may go. He will focus on welfare reform. Opponents expect him to be more pragmatic in his approach to devolution. He will also be sensitive to any criticism of Welsh government performance being seen as a "war on Wales".

Mr Crabb will also, you will be excited to hear, the first Conservative cabinet minister with a beard for more than a century. I'm grateful to the Conservative History Group, who tweeted: "The last Tory cabinet minister with a beard was 4th Earl of Onslow (president of board of agriculture until March 1905)".

And Mr Crabb will be grateful to famous beardie Keith Flett, who tweeted: "He will of course have full Beard Liberation Front support should be be appointed."

David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    It is notable how less efficient the Labour lead Welsh gov is compared with England, the Tories must think that Crabb will engage with the Welsh people better than Jones, who is perhaps seen as establishment, and have more chance of changing the status quo.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Well Done Wales! Five of our Universities are in the top 1000 in the World
    Cardiff was in the top 200

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    #11 {PC} "Wales's only true savour."

    Must be an acquired taste.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    16. "When some BBCWales staff get replaced by Celticised Names, let us hope for greater sympathy for such people"

    Do you mean names like Akhagar, Mohammed, Needs. Pope. Brockway etc. Very Celtic

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    The Prime Minister not only has Mr. Jones' support, he now has a Truss as well,and I really did enjoy her book on the old disciplines of the language, "Eats,Shoots and Leaves" and her later book"Talk To The Hand". This derangement of epitaphs does deflect us from the allegories lurking on the banks near the Nile,Tigris,Euphrates,Crimea,etc.Also, of course, those lurking IN the Banks! Fills in time

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Iceberg. In sight. Insight. Deckchairs. Titanic. Rearrange. Band to play on. The World may well be the safer without Mr. Hague seeking to have Armed Forces intervene here, there and anywhere, Mr. hammond having sacked thousands of troops may be more realistic.Mr.Ken Clarke can,in retirement, catch up on his reading, starting with the Maastricht Treaty, perhaps.This is a very minor story,I fear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    11 Mab I did not say Crabb was right or wrong I merely pointed out the hypocrisy of PC complaining abbot Crabb being ineffective in handling a complaint about Withybush and at the same time complaining of Westminster interference.
    As for opposition AM's that is a joke. Tell us the last time PC voted against the WAG budget, or when Labour held an absolute majority. PC have kept Labour in power

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Mr Jones isn't the only one 'not unhappy'! Lest you think me unkind, let's not forget this was the man who wanted to drag the Welsh Gov. before the UK Supreme Court for having the temerity to make English an official language in Wales!

    I sincerely hope Mr Crabb 'gets' devolution. It's purpose is to get Wales moving economically, socially and culturally. It's not there to be undermined.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    9: I didn't comment on post (6) but responded to your sycophantic Westminster rule love-in although his remarks show that Cameron has replaced like with like, also opposition AMs are there to make their wishes known regarding WG policies whether they listen is another matter, and Plaid had a short marriage of convenience to enable a power referenda and are Wales's only true savour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    9 Mab Perhaps you might wish to read post 6. It was not me that complained about Crabbs' efforts at Withybush.
    As you are aware "opposition" AM do not scrutinise Labour's policy nor their record in NHS Wales. Indeed PC openly support Labour and have kept them in power for 15 years. I agree with you, in 2016 there is no point in voting PC, as you are simply voting for labour via the back door

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    8: Sorry to burst ones bubble but as stated health is a "devolved issue" and any interfering by WS Crabb & Cameron seeing the Tories health record fiasco in office is laughable as we have Senedd oppositions AMs to scrutinize Labour policy positive or adverse. Hopefully the WG's record will be duly noted and they get their just deserts in 2016 not your preferred back-door Westminster proxy rule.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    6 But as most posters on this blog would say (and that includes the blogs author) it is not Crabbs' responsibility - health is a devolved issue". Personally I disagree with them, our elected representatives should be free to speak on all matters.
    We can only hope that the next SoS W will continue draw attention to the shortcomings of the WA.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    David Jones was a useless Senedd member and like all Tories who depart to Westminster to become MPs for a cushy life was a equally pointless. All he's done in his Welsh secretary tenure was be hostile towards Wales by hindering policy making and his sacking was the most positive thing he's achieved as he could have quit which would have been easier. A glorious failure!

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    I had dealing with Mr Crabb a few years ago over a complaint with Withybush Hospital, not my idea of some one that was elected to represent others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Who cares ... Come on

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    "Tuco" in "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly "said it more recently than King Lear who referred to outlasting packs of great ones, who come and go with the seasons of the Moon

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    A non-event, surely. Mr. William Hague's expensive Local Government Re-Organisation was a "War on Wales" and the costs incurred have NEVER been recouped from "Cost Effective Savings".That did,however, put the Devolution Bandwagon on its way. It is rather like the Welsh Government, most of us do not know, or care, who is swanning around, one Identikit Politico goes in, another comes out, and so on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    1.Crabb won't war on Wales, he will war on Labour

    Well he's not going to endorse an opposition party. He'd be a bit Twp if he did.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Crabb won't war on Wales, he will war on Labour, and until the elections next year it's going to be a very dirty war !


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