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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Praying for change

In an interview with e-politix the First Minister reiterates his view that Tony Blair must set a timetable for his resignation soon if Labour are not to lose the next General Election. Presumably, Rhodri Morgan is thinking about the Welsh General Election as well. No doubt his party workers are finding the same thing on the doorsteps as ours, a determination by lifelong Labour voters not to support the party again.

Morgan told ePolitix.com: "Split parties never win elections.

"If the electorate gets the feeling that there is interminable wrangling and division over the succession then that is very unhelpful in the run up to the Scottish and Welsh elections in May next year.

"We need clarity over the succession of some sort. It is now very much up to the prime minister because the cards are all in his hands and he won a working majority and it is up to him."

The first minister indicated that he is impatient for the situation to be resolved in the coming months, well before the May 2007 round of elections.

"Clarity is the key thing but we have to see what happens in the autumn and winter," he said.

The first minister added that the assembly and parliamentary elections had become a "giant" mid-term test for Labour.

"I am sure that the prime minister is very conscious of the fact that the key mid-term test for any Labour government now is not by-elections caused by the untimely death or resignation of an MP, it's the Welsh and Scottish elections. They are a giant mid-term test," he said.

"They are almost always at the mid-term difficult period, two years after a general election, 2007 is not going to be any different and they will be very tough for that reason.

"Almost all governments are unpopular mid-term and somehow or other we have to make sure Labour in Wales and Scotland are not too badly affected by that."

Clearly Rhodri is feeling particularly apprehensive as to whether he can hang onto his job after the May elections.

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