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Wednesday, June 30, 1999 Published at 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK

UK Politics

Welsh Labour old guard fights on

The site of the planned new Assembly chamber

Labour's "old guard" in Wales looks ready to fight the next general election.

Wednesday is the deadline for Labour MPs to tell party headquarters whether they intend to seek re-election.

Initial soundings suggest that almost all of them will - with 66-year-old Allan Rogers reconsidering his decision to stand down in Rhondda.

[ image: Westminster: still home for some Welsh MPs]
Westminster: still home for some Welsh MPs
Ogmore MP Sir Ray Powell, 71, insists he will stand once more for Westminster. A quarter of Welsh Labour MPs are sixty or more - the average age is 54.

Both Sir Ray and Mr Rogers were among the Labour MPs who expressed scepticism about devolution during the government's referendum campaign in 1997.

Devolution upsurge

However, the local council areas covering both their seats returned majorities in favour of devolution when the votes were counted.

The Rhondda seat, a very safe constituency for Labour at Westminster, became one of Plaid Cymru's most spectacular gains in the 26 May National Assembly elections, when local chemist Geraint Davies polled more than the former South Wales MEP Wayne David.

[ image: John Marek: future in Wales]
John Marek: future in Wales
Some Welsh Labour MPs, however, are turning their backs on Westminster in favour of careers in the new National Assembly.

Rhodri Morgan, the AM for Cardiff West, and a member of the Assembly Cabinet with responsibility for economic development, and John Marek, the AM for Wrexham, will be pursuing their political ambitions in Cardiff.

The future of First Secretary Alun Michael as MP for Cardiff South and Penarth remains unclear - his office said it did not know whether he has returned his form yet.

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