Rhodri Morgan

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The Right Honourable
Rhodri Morgan
Cropped image of Rhodri Morgan at The Celebration of the Mace 5840623762 b47ba98d73 o.jpg
First Minister of Wales
In office
9 February 2000 – 10 December 2009
Deputy Michael German
Jenny Randerson (Acting)
Ieuan Wyn Jones
Preceded by Alun Michael (First Secretary)
Succeeded by Carwyn Jones
Leader of Welsh Labour
In office
9 February 2000 – 9 December 2009
Preceded by Alun Michael
Succeeded by Carwyn Jones
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for Cardiff West
In office
6 May 1999 – 5 May 2011
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Mark Drakeford
Member of Parliament
for Cardiff West
In office
11 June 1987 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Stefan Terlezki
Succeeded by Kevin Brennan
Personal details
Born Hywel Rhodri Morgan
(1939-09-29)29 September 1939
Cardiff, Wales, UK
Died 17 May 2017(2017-05-17) (aged 77)
Wenvoe, Wales, UK
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Julie Edwards
Children 3
Alma mater St John's College, Oxford
Harvard University

Hywel Rhodri Morgan (29 September 1939 – 17 May 2017) was a Welsh Labour politician who was the First Minister of Wales and the Leader of Welsh Labour from 2000 to 2009. He was also the Assembly Member for Cardiff West from 1999 to 2011 and the Member of Parliament for Cardiff West from 1987 to 2001. He was, as of 2017, the longest-serving First Minister of Wales. He was elected Chancellor of Swansea University on 24 October 2011.

Personal life

Born in Cardiff, Hywel Rhodri Morgan was the son of Professor T. J. Morgan and the brother of the historian Prys Morgan. His second cousin is Professor Garel Rhys.

Morgan was educated at Whitchurch Grammar School (which merged with Whitchurch County Secondary School to become the comprehensive Whitchurch High School in 1968) in Whitchurch, Cardiff; St John's College, Oxford, graduating with a degree in PPE in 1961;[1] and Harvard University, where he gained an MA in Government in 1963.[1]

In 1967, he married Julie Morgan (née Edwards),[1] who was later the Labour MP for Cardiff North between 1997 and 2010. The couple lived in Michaelston-le-Pit (a village situated outside their constituencies), and were patrons of the British Humanist Association. They had a son and two daughters.[2]

In July 2007, Morgan was admitted to hospital where he underwent heart surgery. Even though he left hospital within the week, doctors said he would not be fully recovered for a few weeks.[3]

Morgan died on 17 May 2017 age 77.[2]

Career

Early career

Before entering politics, Morgan worked as a research officer in local and central government from 1965 to 1971, an economic adviser to the Department of Trade and Industry from 1972 to 1974 and an Industrial Development Officer for South Glamorgan County Council from 1974 to 1980. He then served as Head of the European Community's office in Wales from 1980 to 1987. He was also a tutor for the Workers' Educational Association between 1963 and 1965.[1]

Westminster

Morgan was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Cardiff West in 1987. From 1988 to 1994, he was a Shadow Environment Spokesman. He was also Chairman of the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Administration (1997–1999), and Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Energy (1988–92) and Welsh Affairs (1992–1997). He stepped down from the House of Commons at the 2001 General Election.

National Assembly for Wales

First Assembly (1999)

A committed supporter of Welsh devolution, Morgan contested the position of Labour's nominee for the (then titled) First Secretary for Wales. He lost to the then Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies. Davies was then forced to resign his position after an alleged sex scandal, whereupon Morgan again ran for the post. His opponent, Alun Michael, the new Secretary of State for Wales, was seen as a reluctant participant despite also having a long-standing commitment to Welsh devolution, and was widely regarded as being the choice of the UK leadership of the Labour Party.[4]

Michael was duly elected to the leadership but resigned a little more than a year later, amid threats of an imminent no-confidence vote and alleged plotting against him by members of not only his own party, but also Assembly groups and Cabinet members. Morgan, who had served as Minister for Economic Development under Michael,[1] became Labour's new nominee for First Secretary, and was elected in February 2000, later becoming First Minister on 16 October 2000 when the position was retitled. He was also appointed to the Privy Council in July 2000.[5] Morgan stepped down from the House of Commons at the 2001 General Election.

Morgan's leadership has been characterised by a willingness to distance himself from a number of aspects of UK Labour party policy, particularly in relation to plans to introduce choice and competition into public services, which he has argued do not fit Welsh attitudes and values, and would not work effectively in a smaller and more rural country. In a speech given in Swansea to the National Centre for Public Policy in November 2002, Morgan stated his opposition to foundation hospitals (a UK Labour proposal), and referred to the "clear red water"[6] separating policies in Wales and in Westminster.[7]

Second Assembly (2003)

Rhodri Morgan meets U.S. Ambassador Robert Tuttle on 7 October 2005 in Cardiff.
Rhodri Morgan campaigning in 2003.

On 1 May 2003, Labour under Morgan's leadership was re-elected in the Assembly elections. Morgan managed to win enough seats to form a Labour-only administration (the election was held under proportional representation, and Labour won 30 of the 60 seats in the Assembly and the overall majority was achieved when Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM was elected Presiding Officer of the Assembly) and named his cabinet on 9 May. In that election, Labour easily took back all of the former strongholds they lost to Plaid Cymru at the height of Alun Michael's unpopularity in 1999.

In his second term, Morgan's administration continued its theme of "Welsh solutions for Welsh problems", a marked contrast to the Blairite public service reform agenda.[citation needed] Instead of competition, Welsh Labour emphasised the need for collaboration between public service providers.[8]

Third Assembly (2007)

Labour was the biggest party with 26 out of the 60 seats, five short of an overall majority. After one month of minority government, Morgan signed a coalition agreement (One Wales) with Ieuan Wyn Jones, leader of Plaid Cymru, on 27 June 2007. Rhodri Morgan became the first modern political leader of Wales to lead an Assembly with powers to pass primary legislation (subject to consent from Westminster).[citation needed]

Retirement

In July 2005, Morgan announced his intention to lead the Welsh Labour party into the 2007 general election, but retire as leader and First Minister sometime in 2009, when he would be 70.[9] On his 70th birthday (29 September) he set the exact date as immediately following the Assembly's budget session on 8 December 2009.[10] Counsel General Carwyn Jones, Health Minister Edwina Hart and Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney AM Huw Lewis entered a leadership contest to elect a new Labour leader in Wales.[11] On 1 December 2009 the winner was declared as Carwyn Jones,[12] who assumed office as First Minister on 10 December 2009. Morgan remained a backbench AM until April 2011, when the third Assembly was dissolved prior to the general election on 5 May 2011.

Death

Morgan collapsed on the evening of 17 May 2017 while cycling on Cwrt yr Ala Road, Wenvoe, near his home. Police and paramedics were called to the scene and he was pronounced deceased.[13]

Rhodri's family held an open funeral for Rhodri at the Welsh Assembly on 31 May, which was open on a first-come first-served basis to the public, as well as broadcast on screens outside the Senedd and online. His funeral was the first Welsh national funeral, akin to a state funeral, as well as the first national funeral led by a humanist celebrant. The ceremony was led by Rhodri's friend and former Welsh Labour colleague Lorraine Barrett.[14][15]

Honorary degrees

Rhodri Morgan was awarded several honorary degrees for his service to the United Kingdom, including the following.

Country Date School Degree
 Wales 26 November 2007 University of Wales Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [16]
 Wales June 2009 Bangor University [17]
 Wales 2009 Aberystwyth University Honorary Fellow[18]
 Wales 2010 Cardiff University Doctorate[19]
 Wales 2010 Swansea University Doctorate[20]
 Wales July 2011 University of Glamorgan Doctorate [21]

He was also appointed Chancellor of Swansea University in 2011, a post he held until his death. He had close links with the University as both his parents had graduated from it in the 1920s and his father and brother also taught there.[22]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Hannan, Patrick (18 May 2017). "Rhodri Morgan obituary". theguardian.com. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Former first minister Rhodri Morgan dies". BBC News. 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  3. ^ Mulholland, Hélène (9 July 2007). "Rhodri Morgan spends night in hospital". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ Guto Harri (9 February 2000). "Q&A: The Alun Michael vote". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  5. ^ "Morgan made privy councillor". BBC News. 24 July 2000. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  6. ^ "Clear Red Water". Socialist Health Association. 
  7. ^ "New Labour 'attack' under fire". BBC NEWS. 11 December 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  8. ^ Welsh Assembly Government. "Making the Connections". Archived from the original on 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  9. ^ "Morgan is stepping down as leader". BBC News Online. 
  10. ^ "Morgan plans to step down in 2009". BBC News Online. 
  11. ^ "Two join race to succeed Morgan". BBC News. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  12. ^ "Carwyn Jones clinches leadership in Wales". WalesOnline. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  13. ^ "Rhodri Morgan collapsed and died cycling.". Western Mail. 19 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-19. 
  14. ^ "Public humanist funeral for Rhodri Morgan at National Assembly for Wales". Humanists UK. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  15. ^ "Rhodri Morgan funeral to be held at the Senedd, Cardiff". BBC Wales News. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017. 
  16. ^ "Rhodri set to receive an honorary degree". WalesOnline. 26 November 2007. 
  17. ^ "The Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan, AM". Bangor University. 
  18. ^ "Honorary Awards". Aberystwyth University. 
  19. ^ "Honorary Fellows". Cardiff University. 
  20. ^ Williamson, David (19 July 2010). "Swansea University honour for Rhodri Morgan". WalesOnline. 
  21. ^ "Honorary doctorate for former First Minister Rhodri Morgan". WalesOnline. 28 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Rhodri Morgan becomes Swansea University chancellor". BBC News Online. 25 October 2011. 

External links

  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Rhodri Morgan
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Stefan Terlezki
Member of Parliament for Cardiff West
19872001
Succeeded by
Kevin Brennan
National Assembly for Wales
New constituency Assembly Member for Cardiff West
19992011
Succeeded by
Mark Drakeford
Political offices
New office Minister for Economic Development
and European Affairs

1999–2000
Succeeded by
Michael German
Preceded by
Alun Michael
as First Secretary of Wales
First Minister of Wales
2000–2009
Succeeded by
Carwyn Jones
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alun Michael
Leader of Welsh Labour
2000–2009
Succeeded by
Carwyn Jones
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