Friday, 29 June 2007

Poacher turned gamekeeper?

Gordon Brown's "government of all the talents" will include at least one MP who did his best to hasten the new prime minister's arrival in Downing Street.

Last September, Caerphilly MP Wayne David was one of several MPs who resigned junior government posts to participate in a coup against Tony Blair - signing a letter urging the then PM to quit.

His reward is promotion to the post of whip, a role that will involve him trying to dissuade unhappy backbenchers from voicing criticisms of the Brown Government.

Mr David is promoted at the specific request of Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, who also asked for Huw Irranca-Davies as a replacement for Nick Ainger.

The new whip has been the public face of Welsh Labour MPs during the last few weeks as their anger over the coalition deal with Plaid Cymru boiled over.

His new job traditionally involves a vow of silence but few MPs are more aware of the feelings of his colleagues - and the need to pacify them - than the outgoing secretary of the 29-strong group of Welsh Labour backbenchers.

Others who signed the letter can now afford to hope that their past involvement in the coup won't be a barrier to promotion. Only the cynical would suggest that it might in retrospect look rather a good career move.

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