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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Labour lined up for minority rule
Rhodri Morgan
Mr Morgan is due to be nominated as first minister on Friday
Labour looks set to form a minority government in Wales after plans for a "rainbow coalition" of other parties collapsed in acrimony.

Welsh Labour leader Rhodri Morgan, who is expected to be nominated as first minister on Friday, reached out to "progressive people" in other parties.

The Liberal Democrats voted to pull out of talks with Plaid and the Tories after admitting "deep division".

Plaid said the Lib Dems had showed a "contempt" for the electorate.

But grassroots Lib Dem members have now called a special conference on Saturday, in which a coalition bid could still be revived.

Labour is now in pole position to form a minority government for Wales.

It said the door was open for a return for talks with Plaid or the Lib Dems, but both parties have said a deal will not be done in the next couple of days.

Mike German met protesters at the Lib Dem meeting

A vote to nominate a first minister for Wales is set to be held at a plenary session in the assembly on Friday.

Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems have said they will abstain during the vote, leaving Mr Morgan as the only credible candidate.

He said that Labour's plan in the next assembly was to "reach out to other parties to form a progressive consensus as a way of moving forward".


He singled out issues like child poverty and affordable housing as areas where "progressive people'" in all parties could find common ground.

Mr Morgan called the controversial issue of hospital reconfiguration as "massive", with no simple solution, but that again Labour would strive "to find a consensus based way of moving forward."

Invited to apologise for describing the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru as a deal between the "unpalatable and inedible," Mr Morgan simply said that in politics, tough words were used.

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones had offered that option of stable government and the Lib Dems had "turned their backs on their duty to the people of Wales and have shown absolute contempt for the electorate".

He said: "It was as a result of their decision to suspend talks with Labour that Plaid Cymru was required to offer an alternative government.

"The Liberal Democrats have now shown that they are unable to take serious decisions and are undeserving of government."

Mr Jones added that he was disappointed for Lib Dem leader Mike German, saying he knew Mr German had wanted the coalition to work.

Nick Bourne, Ieuan Wyn Jones and Mike German
For the Lib Dems to have rejected consensus politics is like the Pope rejecting Catholicism.
Geoff Hanlan, Cardiff

The Lib Dem meeting, which took place in Llandrindod Wells, had been picketed by protesters who opposed a coalition deal with Plaid and the Tories.

The session was to decide whether to proceed with plans to put the idea of a rainbow coalition to party members in a special conference scheduled for Saturday.

Speaking after the meeting, Mike German said: "There was a deep division on this matter and the party decided that it would not be possible to move forward to recommend this to a special conference.

"On that basis then we will be making sure we fulfil our role in opposition in the next four years."

During the meeting, a vote was also passed that the Lib Dems' assembly group will not re-enter talks with Labour.

Earlier on Wednesday night, the management board of the Welsh Conservatives had unanimously backed a coalition deal with Plaid and the Lib Dems.

Nick Bourne, the leader of the Welsh Tories, said he found the decision "personally and politically disappointing".

"For one brief moment there was the real prospect of an exciting chance for the people of Wales, which offered the chance to break Labour's stranglehold on our country.

"I cannot begin to express my disappointment that Liberal Democrat members prevented this bright vision from becoming reality."

"Now is the time to put acrimony aside."

Is it the end of the rainbow?
24 May 07 |  Wales

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