Minister resigns from Welsh Cabinet over Lib-Lab pact

Click to follow
Indy Politics

A member of Labour's Welsh Cabinet resigned yesterday in protest at his party's coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats.

A member of Labour's Welsh Cabinet resigned yesterday in protest at his party's coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats.

Tom Middlehurst quit, saying he had "no regard" for the Liberal Democrats and did not trust them as allies in the Welsh Assembly.

Last week the Liberal Democrats agreed to support the minority administration of the Welsh First Secretary, Rhodri Morgan, in return for two cabinet posts. Mr Morgan said at the time that the agreement would bring more stability to the government of Wales and allow the Assembly to implement its programme.

In a letter to Mr Morgan yesterday, Mr Middlehurst, the Assembly Secretary for Post-16 Education and Training, said he supported an agreement to bring stability but having Liberal Democrats in the Cabinet was "too high a price to pay. Apart from this I have no regard for the Liberal Democrats and do not trust them as long-term allies," he said.

Mr Middlehurst said the Liberal Democrats had committed the "ultimate act of treachery" in helping to bring down the former Welsh first secretary, Alun Michael.

He added in his letter: "The prospect of sitting down in Cabinet with Liberal Democrats is not one that I can contemplate... You will always have my support from the backbenches but I will be scrutinising in great detail the actions of the Liberals as the story unfolds."

In his reply, Mr Morgan said he accepted the resignation "with great reluctance". He said he respected Mr Middlehurst's reasons and his support for the principle of an agreement with the Liberals.

"I recognise that the price is high, but the prize of stable government and delivery of real improvements for the people of Wales convinces me that it is my duty... to give this kind of partnership a try," he added.

Comments