ON Wednesday (May 11) the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford and invited guests will unveil a bronze bust of Jim Griffiths MP at an event commemorating his extraordinary life and achievements.
Jim Griffiths as MP for Llanelli from 1936 to 1970 and he was the First Secretary of State for Wales.
He was born in Betws, Ammanford in 1890 and at the age of 13 he went to work in the local anthracite pit. In 1925 Jim became Miners’ Agent for the Anthracite Miners Association for West Wales. In 1934 he was elected President of the South Wales Miners Federation (forerunner of the NUM ). in 1950 he was appointed as Secretary of State for the Colonies
Jim’s many achievements included:
Introduction the Family Allowance Act
Introduction of the National Insurance Act
Introduction of the Industrial Injuries Act.
Jim Griffiths campaigned for a greater voice for Wales leading to the creation of the office of Secretary of State for Wales and the establishment of the Welsh Office.
In 1955 Jim became Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, defeating Aneurin Bevan by 144 votes to 111. He held the post until 1959.
In 1964 as the party’s spokesman on Welsh Affairs Jim finally convinced the Labour hierarchy of the importance of creating the Office of Secretary of State for Wales.
In 2018 a campaign ‘Cofio Jim’ was launched calling on Carmarthenshire County Council and Llanelli Town Council to erect a statue of Jim in Llanelli. An event was held in Llanelli Library where a video made by Llanelli Online and Theo Davies-Lewis gave an insight into Jim’s achievements. Lee Waters MS and Archdeacon Dorrien Davies were in attendance.
A further campaign #HonouringJimGriffiths was established by former MP, Gwynoro Jones along with Alun Gibbard, Dr John Evans and the editor of Llanelli Online Alan Evans. With close collaboration between the County Council, the Senedd and the National Library for Wales plans were made to move an existing bronze bust of Jim Griffiths from Parc Howard to the Senedd where it will remain during the temporary exhibition.
The event will be hosted by the Senedd Llywydd Elin Jones and the First Minister.
Lord John Morris, a former Secretary of State will be the main speaker at the event with contributions from the current Secretary of State Simon Hart MP, D Ben Rees ( who wrote a biography on Jim Griffiths), Nia Griffiths MP, Gwynoro Jones and the First Minister, Mark Drakeford.
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