Smith takes Labour job after Hain steps down
OWEN Smith has been appointed Labour's Shadow Welsh Secre- tary.
Mr Smith, who was elected MP for Pontypridd at the 2010 general election, will replace Neath MP Peter Hain in the role.
He will relinquish his role in Ed Miliband's shadow Treasury team, where he played a role in attacking the Westminster coalition's policies on the economy and public spending.
The appointment follows the resignation of Neath MP Peter Hain from Labour's front bench.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Mr Hain quit the shadow cabinet on Monday, saying he wanted to spend much of his time campaigning for a proposed multi-billion-pound barrage across the Severn estuary.
He said earlier this week of the Severn Barrage project: "It's vitally important for South Wales and of enormous benefit to the Port Talbot, Neath and Swansea Bay areas."
Following his appointment Mr Smith said: "We need to build a new partnership between Wales and Westminster, to create an economy that delivers opportunities and better living standards for all of the people of Wales.
The Labour Welsh government was "working every day to deliver a brighter future for families in Wales", he said.
"I want to play my part in that vital task and to help revitalise our Welsh economy and Welsh communities.
"When Ed Miliband appointed me he was very clear.
"My top priority is to work with First Minister Carwyn Jones to help bring new ideas, new jobs and opportunities to Wales.
"It's the biggest challenge facing Wales today."
Making the announcement, Labour Leader Ed Miliband said: "I am delighted to welcome the new members of our team."
He added: "Owen Smith has shown himself to be a real talent and I welcome him to the post of Shadow Welsh Secretary."
His counterpart, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan, said: "I congratulate Owen Smith on his appointment as Shadow Secretary of State, and I look forward to working constructively with him in the interests of Wales.
"There are many challenges affecting Wales which lie ahead and which can be best solved together, just as I sought to do with his predecessor and continue to aspire to do in our relations with the Welsh Government."
Llanelli MP Nia Griffith will deputise for Mr Owen and remains in her post as Labour's Shadow Wales Office Minister.
Before being elected to parliament Mr Smith was a BBC journalist, a government special adviser and a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
He was Labour's election campaign manager at last year's Welsh Assembly elections and recently launched a bid to bring regional rugby back to the South Wales valleys.
Mr Hain also welcomed the appointment of Mr Smith.
"I have personally congratulated Owen, who will make a fine Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and also a future Cabinet Minister who I am sure will go far," he said.
"He will speak up for Labour in Parliament and Wales with the authority and verve we need to take on the bankrupt Tories and Lib Dems in the UK Government."