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Huw Edwards leads tributes as political reporting legend dies aged 79

Tributes have been paid following the death of a leading Welsh political journalist whose career in newspapers stretched across more than four decades.

Clive Betts, who has died aged 79, worked for the Western Mail and South Wales Echo and served as the Mail’s Welsh assembly editor at the time it was first set up in 1999.

He later covered the fledgling institution – now called the Senedd – in a freelance capacity after leaving the Mail in 2002 following a string of cutbacks.

His death, on Sunday, January, was announced on social media by his son Aled, who Tweeted a photograph of him working at the Western Mail in 1987 ‘doing the job he loved’.

Clive Betts pictured at work at the Western Mail in 1987.

Tributes to Clive were led by BBC newsreader and Wales journalistic legend Huw Edwards who described him as ‘one of the greats.

Former Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “Deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Clive.  He was one of the first journalists I got to know as a young politician.”

Caerphilly Labour MP Wayne David said he “always respected his commitment to, and love of, journalism in Wales”.

And former Tory Welsh secretary Sir Robert Buckland tweeted that they met regularly in the 1990s and said he was a “journalist of the highest order”.

The Mail’s Martin Shipton said Clive was ‘highly respected for his political coverage over many years and straddled the pre- and post-devolution eras”.

In an obituary published on Wednesday, he recounted how Clive had been offered another job in Tunbridge Wells before a last-minute offer from the Echo led to him joining the Cardiff-based title in 1963.

He joined sister title the Mail later in the decade and became its long-serving Welsh Affairs correspondent, charting the ups and downs of the devolution debate through the 70s, 80s and 90s.

After freelancing at the Asssembly for around 10 years, Clive eventually gave up working around 10 years ago after suffering a stroke.