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Opposition Spokespeople Confirmed

Chris Coleman is not the only person naming his Welsh team this month...

Just over a month after the election and we now know who all the party spokespeople are in each party. These are the ‘Shadow Ministers’ or topic specialists that hold the Welsh Government’s individual Ministers to account. There’s been some interesting changes. Here are a few worth noting:

Plaid Cymru

With one extra AM over the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid inched themselves to being the main opposition party, thus technically being the only one to have ‘Shadow Ministers’. With some new faces in the party, Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn)(PC) has moved from business and the economy to health and social care, letting Adam Price (Carmarthen East & Dinefwr)(PC) take on business, economy and finance. Their former health spokesperson, Elin Jones (Ceredigion)(PC) was elected as Presiding Officer.

Education has gone from Simon Thomas (Mid & West Wales)(PC) to Llyr Huws Gruffydd (North Wales)(PC). Sian Gwenllian (Arfon)(PC) takes up local government, a busy brief at reorganisation comes back on the agenda in the next 12 months, and Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Dwyfor Meirionnydd)(PC) takes up ‘government liaison and the constitution’. Given that this is a minority government with which Plaid will liaise extensively, this is a particularly interesting role for the veteran AM.

Welsh Conservatives

The Welsh Conservatives didn’t see any new faces, they’ve just lost a few from the Fourth Assembly. But they’ve substantially mixed up the portfolios, with Darren Millar (Clwyd West)(Con) and Angela Burns (Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire)(Con) swapping health and education so Burns is on health and Millar now on education.

David Melding (South Wales Central)(Con) has been welcomed back into the fold after this term as Deputy Presiding Officer in the Fourth Assembly; he takes on environment, sustainability, housing and the Wales Bill. His knowledge should be an asset on the latter especially.

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy)(Con) keeps local government; Mark Isherwood (North Wales)(Con) keeps communities and Russell George (Montgomeryshire)(Con) moves away from agriculture and the environment to the economy, tourism, transport and sport. Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire)(Con) takes on rural affairs.

UKIP Wales

Last but not least, UKIP announced their spokespeople amidst a row between UKIP Wales Leader Nathan Gill (North Wales)(UKIP) and Assembly Group Leader Neil Hamilton (Mid & West Wales)(UKIP) on what their policy was on the M4 (Gill’s manifesto said the blue route, Hamilton decided the ‘black route was better than no route’).

So it’s no surprise that there was no spokesperson job for Nathan Gill, with Hamilton insisting he did not have time to alongside his MEP role. His dual role may change after the EU referendum. The issue is that if Gill steps down, it has to be filled either by Caroline Jones (South Wales West)(UKIP) or David Rowlands (South Wales East)(UKIP), two other AMs.

For the other portfolios, Caroline Jones is on health, keeping her role from the election campaign, and finance is shared jointly between Neil Hamilton and Mark Reckless (South Wales East)(UKIP). Michelle Brown (North Wales)(UKIP) takes communities and housing whilst Gareth Bennett (South Wales Central)(UKIP) is on local government.

Here’s the full list of spokespeople positions as of 13/06/2016:

Plaid Cymru:

  • Leanne Wood (Rhondda)(PC): Assembly Leader
  • Llyr Huws Gruffydd (North Wales)(PC): Education, Children, Skills and Lifelong Learning
  • Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Mon)(PC): Health and Social Care
  • Adam Price (Carmarthen East & Dinefwr)(PC): Business, Economy and Finance
  • Simon Thomas (Mid & West Wales)(PC): Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs
  • Sian Gwenllian (Arfon)(PC): Local Government, Welsh Language, Equalities and Planning
  • Bethan Jenkins (South Wales West)(PC): Housing, Poverty, and Communities
  • Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central)(PC): Sport and Tourism
  • Dai Lloyd (South Wales West)(PC): Culture and Infrastructure
  • Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Dwyfor Meirionnydd)(PC): Government Liaison and Constitution
  • Steffan Lewis (South Wales East)(PC): External Affairs, Non-Devolved Matters, Police, the Criminal Justice System and Social Protection

Welsh Conservatives:

  • Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central)(Con) – Assembly Leader
  • Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire)(Con) – Deputy Leader, Chief Whip and Group Business Manager. Rural Affairs
  • Angela Burns (Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire)(Con) – Health, alongside being Campaigns Director
  • Suzy Davies (South Wales West)(Con) – Social Services, Welsh Language and a specific focus on the Swansea Bay City Deal. She is also the Older People’s Champion
  • Mark Isherwood (North Wales)(Con) – Communities, Europe, North Wales Growth Deal
  • Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy)(Con) – Local Government, alongside being Group Vice Chair
  • Russell George (Montgomeryshire)(Con) – Economy, Tourism, Culture, Transport and Sport
  • Nick Ramsay (Monmouth)(Con) – Finance
  • Darren Millar (Clwyd West)(Con) – Education, alongside being Policy Director
  • Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East)(Con) – Skills
  • David Melding (South Wales Central)(Con) – Environment, Sustainability, Planning, Housing and the Wales Bill. Is also the Group’s Chair

UKIP Wales:

  • Neil Hamilton (Mid & West Wales)(UKIP) – Assembly Leader, responsible for the Economy, Farming, Environment, Rural Affairs and Finance
  • Caroline Jones (South Wales West)(UKIP) – Health, alongside being an Assembly Commissioner
  • Mark Reckless (South Wales East)(UKIP) – Business Manager, Education and Finance [jointly with Neil Hamilton]
  • Gareth Bennett (South Wales Central)(UKIP) – Sport and Local Government
  • Michelle Brown (North Wales)(UKIP) – Communities, Childcare and Housing
  • David Rowlands (South Wales East)(UKIP) – Infrastructure and Transport
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