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'What I am now, I owe to him' - Carwyn Jones leads tributes to Rhodri Morgan

Rhodri Morgan congratulates Carwyn Jones on succeeding him as Welsh Labour leader in 2009 Credit: PA

First Minister Carwyn Jones has opened tributes in the Senedd to his predecessor, Rhodri Morgan, who died last week. Mr Jones recalled how he'd been appointed to the Welsh cabinet by a man he regarded as a father figure.

What I am now, I owe to him. He was a hugely intelligent man, with a fine mind but he could get on with anybody.

We've lost one of our nation's giants. He may be gone but his name is written into our nation's history.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM


  1. Adrian Masters

'We fleas ought to stick together' - Rhodri Morgan on the impact of Scottish independence on Wales

Former First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, says Wales would be left in an 'unsustainable' position if Scotland leaves the UK. Writing in the latest issue of Prospect magazine he says Scottish independence would have 'huge implications' for Wales and Northern Ireland, but which would be 'worse for Wales.'

How would the Celts make their voices heard under those conditions? The problem would be worse for Wales than for Northern Ireland. Thirty years of the Troubles followed by the euphoria over the Good Friday agreement in 1998, combined with American interest in the Province have guaranteed that Northern Ireland will never get ignored. There are no such guarantees for Wales.

He writes that the fate of Wales is unlikely to be in the minds of Scottish voters but hopes they'll think about effect of their decision.

Nobody is suggesting a mass rally of Welsh men and women in Princes Street just before Scotland's Independence vote. In the unlikely event that such a gathering were organised, it would probably have the reverse effect of that intended.

We do though, need to percolate that Welsh plea into the minds of the Scottish electorate; a plea that says, 'If you leave the UK, Wales becomes the tail which can never ever wag the English dog!'

You can read Rhodri Morgan's full article if you go to Prospect's website by clicking here. But he ends with another vivid animal metaphor which he was so often associated with during his time as First Minister:

In one of my many conversations with Alex Salmond about the position of the Celtic Countries within the UK, I once upset him mightily by referring to the UK as an 'elephant and three fleas.' He accused me of a form of Celtic self-loathing. I told him that you had to 'clock' the enormous disparity between England and the rest.

And I thought then, as I still think, that we fleas ought to stick together.

– Rhodri Morgan, former First Minister, writing in Prospect Magazine.
  1. Adrian Masters

Welsh coalition leaders reunited

Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones before giving evidence to the committee

Former First Minister Rhodri Morgan and the former Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones have been reunited - in the House of Lords. They were giving evidence to the Lords' Constitution Committee which is looking into the experience of coalition government.

Labour and Plaid Cymru formed a coalition government after the Welsh election of 2007. They were asked by peers how they'd found the experience and how that could translate to possible future coalitions in Westminster.

Labour's Rhodri Morgan told the committee that he found it 'odd' that UK Labour leaders hadn't approached him for advice when trying to form a coalition in 2010. If they had, he said he'd have told them Gordon Brown would have to have stepped down as leader.

Meanwhile the former Plaid Cymru leader highlighted the important role of civil servants during negotiations. He said they enabled him to know which of Plaid's policies were deliverable which helped when they merged the two parties' manifestos into a single programme.

Both men revealed they'd kept out of detailed negotiations in 2007. Ieuan Wyn Jones said they'd met at the beginning of talks and then rarely over the subsequent month. Rhodri Morgan said that it was important to appoint 'natural negotiators' to shape a full coalition deal.