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Saturday, June 06, 2015

How Charles Kennedy helped with regime change in Wales

I am in the middle of Wales at a Liberal Democrats fight back event so signal is variable and consequently this blog post will be short.

Former Welsh First Minister, Rhodri Morgan has his own story about Charles Kennedy in his Western Mail column today in which he relates Charles' role in ensuring that Alun Michael quit as First Secretary of the Welsh Assembly in 2000.

With Alun Michael facing a no confidence vote in the Assembly, Tony Blair summoned Charles Kennedy to number ten to ask that he persuade the Welsh Lib Dem group to withdraw their support for the motion. Characteristically, Charles told him no, it was up to the AMs to do their own thing, that is what devolution is all about.

It is an interesting contrast with 1999 when Alun Michael refused to countenance a coalition despite having no majority. Paddy Ashdown went to see Blair at the request of the Welsh Liberal Democrat leadership to ask the Prime Minister to put pressure on Welsh Labour to talk to us. Alun Michael refused and a chain of events were put in train that led directly to the no confidence motion and Rhodri Morgan becoming First Minister.
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