Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Friday, 3 February 2006

Your views on Morgan and Iraq

Rhodri Morgan on Question Time

First Minister Rhodri Morgan repeatedly fended off questions about his views on the Iraq war during a debate on the BBC's Question Time.

He was asked for his opinion by a member of the audience, but said he did not have a view because he was not a member of parliament when MPs voted.

Is the leader of the Welsh assembly right not to reveal his views?

Should he stay out of areas where he has no control, or must he tell voters what he thinks?

We asked for your views, and below is a balanced selection of the comments received. This Have Your Say is now closed: thank you for all contributions.

Mr Morgan's performance was a shambles and I was absolutely mortified that such a display of ineptitude was being broadcast for the whole of the UK to see. I know we should expect such things from politicians but this was ridiculous. I see another award heading his way soon for such breathtaking prevarication. Rhodri should immediately sack his advisers, and then himself.
Mark Gardener, Carmarthen

I have never met a person who doesn't have an opinion on the Iraq war, let alone a politician without an opinion. He was an embarrassment for Wales on yesterday's programme.
Gareth Davies, Milford Haven, Pembs

My local MP voted for the war, i believe it was wrong - but that doesn't change my view of her. Rhodri Morgan is wrong - he should have a view and should state what that view is. To say opinions are cheap, votes are not is a clear sign that he is more interested in his job that the people he serves
James, Stockport

He is, first and foremost, a politician. What he does, what he says he does, what he says he should do, and what he should do are not related!
David Harris, Hampshire

As a Welshman, I was embarrassed by Rhodri Morgan's shambling performance. I expect the First Minister of Wales to be straight with the people. What is he hiding and from whom? I want to know what my country's leader thinks about the major issues of the day, whether he has control over them or not.
Paul Sambrook, Eglwyswrw, Wales

I used to respect Rhodri Morgan as quite independent-minded. Then I watched Question Time, and I've never seen anyone self-destruct so badly live on TV before.
Alex Wilcock, London

I am proud to call Wales a home and saw the 'performance' of Morgan last night on Question Time. I was embarrassed for him; playing a political line and refusing to have any personal opinions or objective comments to make. All politicians should stand by what they believe. How can Wales be taken seriously with such a clown at the head of the assembly? From now on I am Swedish!
Simon, Cardiff, Wales

Rhodri Morgan was an embarrassment to the Welsh nation. A dreadful way for a first minister to behave. Where's the gravitas?
Paul Sambrook, Eglwyswrw, Wales

I'm not a Labour voter, but I used to respect Rhodri Morgan as quite independent-minded. Then I watched Question Time, and I've never seen anyone self-destruct so badly live on TV before. Does he have no brain of his own? It's incredible that he expects anyone to believe he never once thought to make up his mind about Iraq, and offensive that he told all the rest of us we were wrong to have our own opinions and should leave it our lords and masters in Westminster as the only people allowed to have a view. And then he attacked the audience for disagreeing! He was shameful.
Alex Wilcock, London, Britain

I watched this man make himself look a complete fool and in his case it wasn't hard. If he is deemed to represent anybody god help them.
Frank O'Neill, Aylesbury, United Kingdom

He should tell us what he thinks. We need to know if he's just lobby fodder, or if he's brave enough to stand up for the truth.
Richard Bornat, LONDON, England

It's up to him what he does or says... or not!
Paul, Rotherham

When a politician cannot give a straight answer to a straight question then they have no place in public office.
Matt, London, UK

What really annoys me is that, as someone in the audience pointed out, the programme was being watched across the UK. Rhodri's performance - as our supposed leading politician - must make the rest of the UK and beyond wonder what type of two-bit country we are if this is the best we can muster. What does this shambles say about the calibre of people who are elected to the Assembly?
James Nicholas, Swansea

Once again Rhodri Morgan looks like a fool. People would respect him more if he just got off the fence and said what he thought. Everybody knows this is not a devolved issue but by pretending to not have an opinion makes him sound all the more ridiculous. I really don't think he has sufficient political judgement to be our First Minister.
James , Newport, Wales

For the head of a glorified talking shop, he has little to say.
Matthew, Cardiff

It's up to him what he does or says... or not!

If he doesn't want to give his views, it's not for us to say he 'must tell voters what he thinks'. Voters will draw their own conclusions
Neil Sands, Chichester

It was silly and embarrassing. If he doesn't have opinions on important issues, what was he doing on Question Time? The implication is that he opposed the war, but didn't want to risk his job. How someone like that ever got elected is beyond me.
Judge, London, England

By denying to give his opinion openly it leaves one to believe that he opposes the war completely. As a politician who claims to be honest and open he should state his views. Other Labour politicians have openly criticised the Gov't about it why is he scared to do so???
Mike Tucker, Pontypool Torfaen

The last thing we need right now is yet another evasive politician à la Michael Howard, Tony Blair, etc. My respect for this man plummeted as he twisted and turned to avoid giving a straight reply to a straight question.
Ralph Wood, Appleby-in-Westmorland

If he doesn't want to give his views, it's not for us to say he 'must tell voters what he thinks'. Voters will draw their own conclusions.
Neil Sands, Chichester, UK

Rhodri Morgan was right to take a stand against all those who have nothing better to concern themselves with than Iraq. It is his democratic right if he does or does not wish to express a view on the war and I back him all the way.
Alan Jamieson, Glasgow

How must the Welsh troops feel today? They are putting their lives on the line and the first minister won't even say whether he agrees with the war or not!
Geraint, Pontypridd

Rhodri was being pathetic last night. Why on earth did he not state his personal opinion, be that for or against the war. It could not have been as damning as saying that he didn't have an opinion because he wasn't an MP at the time of the vote. I think the man has lost his ability to stand up and be counted and the will to lead.
chris, monmouthshire

I have just listened to Rhodri Morgan on Radio Cymru talking about the rugby. He wasn't shy giving his opinion about that
Helen, Trefforest
It is the very fact that Rhodri Morgan is First Minister that he should not answer this question. In effect what he was being asked to do was to say whether he approved or disapproved of a policy that was made by Tony Blair and his government.

That would establish a dangerous precedent. Before we'd know it journalists would be asking First Ministers and the Prime Minister for similar views about each other¿s policies and that would soon lead to political mayhem. Would for instance political parties in Wales want the UK Prime Minister to say whether he approved or disapproved of certain policies made in Wales, I think people would not want that interference.

No-doubt we will, one day, hear what Rhodri Morgan thought about the invasion but until then he is right to keep his own counsel.
Andrew, Cardiff

He is supposed to lead Wales. His only concern is not to embarrass New Labour in London. Time to go Rodders
nic hodges, barry vale of glamorgan

I have just listened to Rhodri Morgan on Radio Cymru talking about the rugby. He wasn't shy giving his opinion about that - shows his priorities. He should resign.
Helen, Trefforest

Rhodri's defence for not giving his opinion on the Iraq war was that it was not a 'devolved' issue. Yet, he has repeatedly given opinions on other 'non-devolved' issues since devolution in 1999. He can't have it both ways!
Ian, Swansea

This is a far bigger issue tha Iraq, it is about whether or not Rhodri Morgan is fit to be First Minister. How can a senior politician be expected to be taken seriously if he does not have a view on the major issue of the day. This dog has had its day
Ted Jones, Ammanford

Rhodri Morgan seems to have a selective memory. He claims not to have points of view on 'non-devolved' matters, yet is quite happy to visit Welsh troops in iraq and state openly they need to stay there for however long it takes. It's obvious what his view on the war is, and he made an utter fool of himself by evading the question.
Alan T, London

He didn't vote in the first place, and let's face it, what difference to the situation in Iraq would his opinion make now anyway? /CPS:QUOTE>
Stephen Richards, London
Having lived in Wales for several years I had seen Rhodri speak before but this was his worst performance yet. Not only did he evade the Iraq question (and who does not have a view?) but he fumbled his way through questions on constitutional change and English legislation. Not a good sign.
Andrew, London

With all this freedom of speech going on elsewhere, surely we can appriciate that when one has the right to say whatever they want, one can also choose not to speak.
Matt, Bristol, UK

Regardless of his post, he should have answered yes or no, simple. He has a right to his views,and tell us the people of Wales those views clearly when asked.
Ifor Williams, Caernarfon, Cymru

Freedom of speech cuts both ways. He has the right to express an opinion and he has the right to keep it to himself.
Fraser Wright, Glasgow

Typical BBC ambush really! Rhodri Morgan was right. He didn't vote in the first place, and let's face it, what difference to the situation in Iraq would his opinion make now anyway? Yet it clearly suited the BBC's agenda to back him into a corner by having both the questioner (and indeed, David Dimbleby) repeat the question over and over (even though they knew his answer after the first time of asking!). End result? Another high profile politician made to squirm on SUSPICION of supporting the war! Job Done!
Stephen Richards, London, UK

Rhodri Morgan reminded me of some town councillors I've come across, full their own ideas but unwilling to share them with the public or to listen to the views of others. Mr Morgan seemed totally out of his depth with the other questions as well. Actually I felt sorry for him...
John W, Marlborough, Wilts

The Government of Wales Act, which set up the National Assembly, expressly allowed the Assembly to debate and express opinions on any matters that affect Wales, not just devolved matters
Paul, Bethesda

I applaud Rhodri's response to the question about war in Iraq. Before the war, and even now, the legitibility of the war was a delicately balanced issue. Most uninfluential people had an opinion on the war, based on insufficient information and personal feelings. For a high profile politician who didn't need to have an opinion on the war, I admire his ability to see both sides of the issue. Most people can see only one side of the discussion, and many of those are vehement with it. Well done, Rhodri, for standing by your convictions.
Tommy Alsop, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

If Rhodri wanted to keep his views to himself then he should have said so straight away. Instead he tried to dodge the issue. When a Labour government sends Welsh soldiers to war the First Minister's opinion on that deployment should be known. Everyone has an opinion on this subject and if he hasn't then he shouldn't be in politics.
Griff, Cardiff, Wales

The Government of Wales Act, which set up the National Assembly, expressly allowed the Assembly to debate and express opinions on any matters that affect Wales, not just devolved matters. The Iraq war clearly affects Wales and the First Minister should show some leadership. Last night he led down the whole of Wales and was an embarrassment to all of us.
Paul, Bethesda, Wales

If Rhodri Morgan doesn't want to express his views on the subject, then that's fine by me. We're not paying him to make judgements on Iraq, he's there to lead the government of Wales, so let's get on with it.
Martyn Winters, Cardiff

I thought that we in Northern Ireland had a monopoly on waffling evasive verbally slippery politicians but I must admit I have not seen anything like the performance of Rhodi Morgan last night on question time. he is an unknown quantity to me but it puzzles me how this guy ever got elected in the first place. He deserved a red card last night. It would have improved the quality of the programme. Brendan

I think that,in the role of First Minister of the Welsh Assembly, he has a perfect right to refrain from comment on political issues which the Assembly does not address. However, as a politician and a citizen of the UK, I think he would be rather cowardly not to offer a view on this matter. His current responsibilities require priority for the first of these positions. Perhaps he will 'come clean' in his memoirs.
Alan Rogers, Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales

It was quite funny really... a bit like turkeys not having an opinion on christmas!
Steve Raj, London
For a first minister to refuse to give a comment on the question asked about his views on the Iraq war is not really a major concern. My main concern is that he sat there and continually tried to change the subject instead of just saying I am not prepared to comment on this, is the man we really want to be in charge of the welsh assembly, will we ever get true answers from this man. I say give us Peter Law who's not affriad to stand for his rights.
Mike Morgan, gwent south wales

In my experience as a Welshman and UK citizen, this sad showing was typical of Mr Morgan and typical of New Labour. The sooner both are consigned, politically, to the history books, the better I'll like it.
David, Abertillery, South Wales

OMG!! Hilarious and demoralising. Rhodri has always been given a lot of slack for having a 'big personality'. Question Time, and the good people in the audience, really showed up (in a horribly public way) the confusion and bluster at the heart of the Labour project in Wales.
marc welsh, Aberystwyth

Question Time, was at one time a 'never miss' for me, however for some time now I feel that the panel and the audience is loaded against any Govt member. This is a real pity as this has become more comical and really misses out on real debate. Dimbleby believes we all tune in to listen to him. All other political programmes have now overtaken it.

Last night Mr. Morgan was both incoherent and evasive, partly because he is politician and partly because he is not a very good politician. Caught between a Welsh electorate that disapproves of the war and a UK government that began it, he tried to equivocate. What he achieved was to disgust his voters and, ironically, to damn his Prime Minister with faint praise. Quite a night's work!
Michael Lakey, Newcastle

It doesn't really matter does it?...and it was quite funny really....a bit like turkeys not having an opinion on christmas!
Steve Raj, London

He has the right not to reveal his views but he sounded like a fool the way he dealt with the question.
Mike Stephenson, Tarvin, Cheshire

Yes, he is right not to make a comment on what he does not know. In fact it is to be commended. Would that other politicians and people follow his example.
James Darwell, Belfast

Does anyone actually care what the "First Minister" of a regional "assembly" thinks about Iraq - or, indeed, any where else. Dave -UK
Dave, UK

When you're in a hole, stop digging
Paul, Southampton
A bit feeble, isn't it? Morgan's government may not be responsible for sending troops to war, but it's responsible for ensuring that Welsh public services are able to deal with circumstances of war, and with terrorist attacks - which the Iraq war has made more likely. He's also responsible for the NHS in Wales, which has no doubt played a part in treating war wounded.

So for him to refuse to give his view on the war, despite being prepared to give views on other non-devolved matters, is really pathetic.
Nick Evans, London, UK

Mr Morgan is very clearly acting the kid who will not support a sports team until he knows which team will win!
Sofia Latif, Oxford, UK

When you're in a hole, stop digging.
Paul, Southampton

He doesn't HAVE to say anything. What is it with these TV shows? If the man chooses to keep his views to himself, then that's HIS business. There seems to be this assumption lately, largely promoted by moronic programmes like Big Brother and the like, that nobody is entitled to their privacy on TV. Good luck to him.
Ken Thompson, UK

Rhodri Morgan was put in a difficult position which obviously is missed by the very vocal majority both in the Question Time studio on this board and in the media. As First Minister of Wales he didn't want to be seen to stab Blair in the back and I would imagine his silence was also out of respect for the Welsh men and women who have risked their lives in Iraq. I do think Morgan should have simply refused to answer the question and then give his reasons why.
Philip Bailey, Manchester, England

video and audio news
See Rhodri Morgan's response on Question Time

Iraq pact 'was made before war'
03 Feb 06 |  UK Politics

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