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WALES: Link with Commons vital - Morgan; LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE.

RHODRI Morgan yesterday told how vital the relationship between Westminster and Cardiff was to securing the future of Airbus in North Wales.

The Flintshire plant is the largest factory in the UK, employing more than 6,000 workers, but faced a rocky future after the company announced it was axing 10,000 jobs across its European operations.

The First Minister claimed the company illustrated just why the union between Wales and England was vital after senior ministers held negotiations with Airbus executives.

He said: "We were involved in it but it is a Westminster government-led project in assisting the company to make sure they do it in Wales, not anywhere else.

"There are a whole list of examples like that where we work in very, very close partnership."

Mr Morgan was speaking at the launch at the Labour Party Conference of the Wales United: Partnership for Progress pamphlet he co-wrote with Welsh Secretary Peter Hain.

It sets out the benefits, one decade after the vote for devolution, the pair believe the country has enjoyed from having its own Assembly as well as being part of the Union.

It states: "Strong representation for Wales at Westminster is vital to safeguarding and promoting the interests of the people of Wales, in particular in relation to the legislative programme and the Welsh budget.

"Calls to reduce the Welsh representation in Parliament would jeopardise Welsh influence over key decisions over finance, defence, energy, foreign policy, pensions and welfare so vital to Welsh citizens."

It dismisses Tory leader David Cameron's calls for "English votes for English" laws, insisting it would relegate Welsh politicians to second class MPs and accuses the Conservatives of wanting to "Balkanise" Parliament.

Mr Hain went on to launch an attack on Mr Cameron for carrying out a U-turn on a number of issues including grammar schools and supermarket car parking charges.

He added that Gordon Brown' performance since taking over as Prime Minister earlier this year would help to rebuild the Labour party in Wales.

"People do want change, people do want an improved National Health Service, people do want affordable housing, people do want us to tackle anti-social behaviour, people do want strong leadership abroad," Mr Hain said.

"That sort of change is what Gordon is offering. He has shown it in the first few months and weeks of his leadership. He has won the public around, even those that people thought would be sceptical or hostile to his leadership."
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Article Type:Conference news
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 24, 2007
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