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SPIN DOCTORS in Wales are hoping the new minister for education will not have a bad case of foot and mouth.

Carwyn Jones (right) emerged from that farming crisis rather well in his former role as minister of agriculture in 2001. But his trusty advisers fear he might want to speak for himself - and the former barrister has been known to stray off his brief.

The close-knit teaching profession in the land of song has welcomed Mr Jones warmly. Unlike his predecessor Jane Davidson, they believe he will listen.

The 40-year-old fluent Welsh- speaker was voted the most popular and trusted politician in a poll of Welsh farmers last year. That is some acclaim from the country.

Critics say his extended portfolio, which now takes in culture and the Welsh language, is just too big for a man with no classroom experience.

But this big hitter in Rhodri Morgan's cabinet might not be around for long. The knives are clearly out for the First Minister and a widely anticipated vote of no confidence in Mr Morgan's leadership would leave the door open for Mr Jones, who might not have to do his homework after all.

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