Welsh voters hear Morgan 'probably' opposed Iraq

Morgan hints at opinion over Iraq war
Morgan hints at opinion over Iraq war

Welsh leader Rhodri Morgan has said he "probably" would have voted against going to war in Iraq.

After repeatedly appearing to dodge questions on his views on the Iraq conflict, the Labour leader said he "probably" would have opposed the war without a second UN resolution.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, Mr Morgan said he saw the dilemma his wife Julie Morgan, the MP for Cardiff North, faced before she decided to vote against the US and UK led invasion.

"Probably, I would have [voted against the war] as well without the second UN resolution," he said. "But I don't know because I wasn't there and I know just how difficult these decisions are."

Mr Morgan had previously been accused of sitting on the fence over a refusal to state how he would have voted on the war if he were an MP. During a television debate last year, he claimed he did not hold a view because he was not a member of parliament.

Plaid Cymru further called on Mr Morgan to give a definitive answer of his views on the war.

"It's vitally important that we know where Rhodri stands on the issue of Iraq," argued Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones.

He continued: "Simply saying that he might have voted one way or another is not good enough. He should clarify whether he does or does not support the war."

Commentators interpret Mr Morgan's new-found opinion as an attempt to distance himself from the policies of Tony Blair, who is rapidly being labelled a liability on Labour's Welsh election campaign.

Yesterday, Welsh Labour unveiled its first year legislative programme, promising to use the assembly's powers to pursue a "radical agenda" towards a "fairer Wales".

"At the heart of our proposals are plans to make people's communities more pleasant and cleaner places to live, work and play. We will build up the skills of our young people, giving them the best start in life, and use all tools at our disposal to eliminate child poverty," said Mr Morgan.

Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru campaigned today on climate change, promising to fund energy efficiency grants to help households reduce their carbon emissions. Plaid has set targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by three per cent a year if elected.

"If we want to tackle climate change saving energy is much easier than finding more," explained Elin Jones, AM for Ceredigion. "Improving new homes is not enough on its own. We also need to improve the efficiency of all the houses in Wales."

Plaid Cymru will facilitate this with a national Energy Saving Plan, paying up to 50 per cent or £5,000 of insulation costs, and phase out incandescent light bulbs, she added.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Liberal Democrats pledged to invest an additional £4 million in sports coaching over the next four years, as part of an initiative to give young people more opportunities.

Yesterday the party launched a mini manifesto for students. The fifteen-point plan promises to give young people more opportunities, a greener future and help getting onto the housing ladder, as well as proposals to give 16-year-olds the vote.

Continuing their focus on the NHS, the Welsh Conservatives pledged to abolish the drugs postcode lottery with an additional £100 million for the assembly's drugs budget, as part of a wider strategy to increase doctors' prescribing powers.

The Conservatives also outlined plans for an integrated bus and rail service across Wales, designed to cut car use. If elected, the Conservatives would provide grants for local councils to improve their public transport links.


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