Peter Hain for Labour Deputy?

Although Rhodri Morgan is deeply immersed in the problems of keeping his party in power in Cardiff, and frantically attempting to find someone from the ‘Rainbow Coalition’ to keep his government afloat, he was on the ball when he threw his support behind Harriet Harman for the Deputy Leadership contest. Peter Hain’s website gives a slideshow of which MPs and AMs are supporting him. Not that many considering that the Welsh Secretary should be able to rely on his numerous Welsh MPs and AMs. Paul Flynn MP, a man I rate has changed his mind but the ever moving blurb on the website does not go into detail. Not surprising really!

Peter and I were great chums during my first fledgling steps across the Labour Party threshold when I was picking my way to becoming a candidate to stand as an AM. Whenever we met, he would tease me that I had arrested him when I was a Metropolitan bobby and he was the great anti-apartheid supremo. I have no recollection of feeling his collar although I had been on duty when the police almost lost the battle of Grosvenor Square, when the American Embassy almost fell to an angry mob. However, he seemed happy to think I had, and so why contradict such an amusing and highly placed politician.

The cosy relationship turned sour suddenly when AM candidate election campaigns began and our votes were important for the two candidates in the hard fought Assembly leadership campaign. Rhodri had already rung me at home and I had given him my support. Alun Michael had been a Home Office minister when I was a North Wales Police Authority member, and the Labour councillors were hung out to dry by his Home Office Department, who refused to back our cry for help when the Police Authority was out of control. I disliked him for the weaselly way he side-stepped the issue and could never vote for him.

So, when I lifted the phone again to hear Peter breezily seeking my support for Alun, naively I told him my vote was promised to Rhodri. Not so much as goodnight from the other end. The phone went dead. That was the end of the jollities too from the glowing Peter. Of course, this anecdote and many more true anecdotes will be available in my book "Leeks from the Back Benches", a description of my First Four Years as an Assemlby Member to be published this autumn. I fear that the ?60000 Peter has spent on mail shots and campaigning might not be enough to get him the job he wants. How sad!

Footnote:  The moving hand has moved on and Rhodri seems to have got it right: alas poor Peter he was known too well! 

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