Posted on the Bevan Foundation blog on 25 April 2009
Rhodri Morgan this morning gave his last speech as First Minister to the Welsh Labour Party conference. "There will be a vacancy for my job before the year is out", he told the audience in Swansea.
The wording is significant. The assumption has always been that he would trigger a leadership election over the summer to enable his successor to take over around the time of his 70th birthday in September. But I understand Rhodri Morgan intends to delay his departure until the turn of the year.
It is thought that the First Minister intends spending the summer taking a Grand Tour around Wales, bidding his people farewell. A contest would not then take place until the autumn and he may not stand down as First Minister until January.
Some members of the Cabinet are not pleased. Contenders have been holding back from launching their campaigns until Rhodri Morgan had triggered the contest, but some are now getting restless. It is likely that after June's Euro elections their patience will break and they will begin to set out their positions more directly.
In the meantime, in the midst of an economic and political crisis, Labour is in limbo.