Thursday, 28 February 2008

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus

St David's Day lasts a minimum of 48 hours at Westminster - and potentially up to a week.

It began last night with a Wales Office reception hosted by the new Secretary of State, Paul Murphy - and won't finish until the Plaid Cymru bash next Wednesday.

The Wales Office guest list was rather more celebrity-light than in recent years - I couldn't find anyone to tell me what tomorrow's weather would be like - but no less enjoyable for that.

The party was held on the eve of what Mr Murphy (and as a papal knight he should know) suggested was the feast day of St Llibio, a 6th century hermit from Anglesey. (Some say St Llibio's feast day is actually February 8).

The Welsh Secretary paid a generous tribute to his predecessor, Peter Hain, who was present, although the Neath MP currently has the air of a man having to spend too much time with his lawyers. A weekend trip to see Chelsea at Wembley didn't make 2008 any rosier.

Mr Hain will make his first Commons speech since his resignation today as Parliament celebrates St David's Day with its annual Welsh affairs debate.

Before that, there is a service in the Commons chapel, featuring choirs from Welsh language schools in London and Abercarn.

Daffodil sellers in Westminster are coining it in. Officials arrived in Paul Murphy's office yesterday morning to discover that the carefully-place bouquets had fallen off tables and window sills overnight - victims of the earthquake centred on Market Rasen, and proof perhaps that some natural phenomena don't respect devolved boundaries.

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