Page last updated at 05:57 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 06:57 UK

I'm still in charge, says Morgan

Mwnt beach
Mr Morgan and his family have been going to Mwnt for 40 years

As questions surround who runs Britain with Prime Minister Gordon Brown on holiday, Rhodri Morgan says he is still in charge of Wales - from his caravan.

The Welsh first minister says he does not need to delegate responsibility as he is remaining in Wales for his break.

It comes amid controversy over who stands in for Mr Brown, with Harriet Harman, Peter Mandelson and Alistair Darling all taking the role.

As first minister, Mr Morgan has always gone on holiday in Mwnt, Ceredigion.

He insisted he was on call and would be able to travel the 102 miles (165 km) back to Cardiff from Mwnt - which takes an average two and a half hours - if needed.

Because I holiday in my caravan in west Wales, I don't delegate authority to anyone else as I'm available to make any emergency decision as and when required
First Minister Rhodri Morgan

"Because I holiday in my caravan in west Wales, I don't delegate authority to anyone else as I'm available to make any emergency decision as and when required," said Mr Morgan, who has gone on holiday to the beach with his family for some 40 years.

Mr Morgan's spokeswoman said he had his mobile phone with him and was always contactable.

He spoke amid continued media speculation about who is in charge of UK while Gordon Brown is on holiday in Scotland and the Lake District.

Downing Street was forced to deny that Lord Mandelson was running the country via his BlackBerry after he was pictured on holiday in Corfu, even though Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman had handed over duty for filling in for Mr Brown before she too left on her holidays.

'Merry-go-round'

Lord Mandelson, who has since returned to Britain, will then hand over the role to the Chancellor Alistair Darling, who begins a stint on Sunday.

However, the business secretary insisted that while the three ministers were fulfilling some of the prime minister's day-to-day duties, Mr Brown was ultimately still in charge of the country if there was a crisis.

Plaid Cymru is in coalition with Labour in the "One Wales" Welsh Assembly Government, and its leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones, is the deputy first minister.

Plaid said its ministers would return from their holidays if they were needed.

"The One Wales government does not copy the merry-go-round system adopted by ministers in Westminster," a spokesman said.

"If a crisis should occur whilst a Plaid minister is on holiday then they will return to deal with the crisis.

"That is what happened in 2007 when Elin Jones cut her holiday short to deal with the foot-and-mouth outbreak and that is what will happen if a similar crisis occurs this summer."

Welsh Conservatives said they did not object to Mr Morgan being on call while on holiday.

"There's never been an issue during the last nine years because of it," a Tory spokesman said.

"He's only in Mwnt after all."



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