Wales politics

Jeremy Corbyn names Nia Griffith as shadow Welsh secretary

Nia Griffith, Owen Smith and Chris Bryant Image copyright BBC/PA
Image caption Nia Griffith, Owen Smith and Chris Bryant are named in Jeremy Corbyn's Labour front bench team

Llanelli MP Nia Griffith has been named shadow Welsh secretary by new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

She replaces Owen Smith, as the Pontypridd MP is promoted to the work and pensions brief.

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant stays on the front bench but moves from culture to shadow leader of the House of Commons.

Veteran left-winger Mr Corbyn won the leadership battle by a landslide over his three rivals despite starting as a rank outsider.


Ms Griffith said she was "very honoured" to be promoted to Labour's front bench.

"I am proud to be part of a strong shadow cabinet that will work tirelessly to expose the Tories' callous approach," she said.

Mr Smith reacted to his new role by tweeting: "A great honour to have been asked to speak for our party on Work & Pensions. Thanks to all who have offered congrats. I won't let you down."

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Media captionCarwyn Jones says Labour tradition is to get behind the elected leader

First Minister Carwyn Jones welcomed Ms Griffith's promotion to the shadow cabinet, saying it was "well-deserved".

Speaking about Mr Corbyn's election as leader, he told BBC Wales: "I do not think it's possible for anyone to ignore the scale of the victory."

Calling for unity, he said: "I think anybody who tries to split the party in some way would be mad to do so.

"In the traditions of the party it's important to get behind the person who is leading in London."

Mr Corbyn said he had created a "unifying, dynamic, inclusive new shadow cabinet" with women taking the majority of roles.

Image caption Jeremy Corbyn went from rank outsider to landslide winner of the Labour leadership contest

Key appointments include defeated leadership candidate Andy Burnham as shadow home secretary, John McDonnell as shadow chancellor, and Maria Eagle as shadow defence secretary.

Her sister Angela Eagle has been named shadow first secretary of state and will stand in for Mr Corbyn at Prime Minister's Questions when David Cameron is away.

Several leading Labour figures had resigned from the shadow cabinet in the wake of Mr Corbyn's victory.

Pontypridd AM Mick Antoniw, who had backed Mr Corbyn for the leadership, said on Twitter that Ms Griffith was "a great choice and look forward to Wales/UK Labour partnership".

Former Euro-MP Baroness Eluned Morgan tweeted that it was the "Strongest welsh representation in shadow cab for years".

Mr Bryant told BBC Radio Wales he had been offered the defence brief but had declined because of differences of opinion over defence policy with the new leader.

'Give and take'

Speaking about his new role, Mr Bryant said: "I loved the [Department of Culture, Media and Sport] brief and I'd have been happy to remain there ... but I also care about the business of how we do our politics and I worry that the Tories are gerrymandering Parliament.

"They're using it in ways which I think are undemocratic and unfair and we need to take the fight to them."

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Media captionChris Bryant on shadow cabinet role and new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Bryant, who had backed Yvette Cooper in the leadership contest, acknowledged it could be difficult working with a leader with whom he had some differences.

But he added: "I think there's going to be a bit more give and take within the top team and maybe voters will respect that."

One of the key tests for Labour under its new leader will be the party's performance at the Welsh assembly election in 2016.

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said the campaign would now take on an "even greater significance".

He accused Labour of "abandoning mainstream politics in favour of a hard left agenda that would make Ken Livingstone uncomfortable".

"It is more important than ever that we take this opportunity to deliver a prosperous new Wales and put an end to a generation of Labour failure," he added.

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