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Betsan Powys | 08:42 UK time, Friday, 21 November 2008

Brought up in a Welsh-speaking home, every now and then my mother, when in a firm but fair mood, would give me something called a "notislomoshyn". It sounded terrifying but was something to which, pretty clearly, I had to respond. It was years later before it dawned on me that what she was actually giving me was a "Notice of Motion", a suggestion that we get something out in the open - and soon - so we could sort it out.

I sensed a certain "notislomoshyn" in Leighton Andrews' interview on last night's Dragon's Eye.

The Rhondda AM and Deputy Minister for Regeneration wants there to be an open debate about the future direction of the Welsh Labour Party.

The race to find Rhodri Morgan's successor might not have officially started but the opportunity for positioning and the debating of ideas truly has: think PR in local elections. Leighton Andrews wants to be a central part of that debate.

He wants there to be a contest, no coronation.

He wants to be part of the leadership team.

He wants to remind all candidates that the deal between Labour and Plaid is "a coalition not a merger".

And so, Leighton Andrews has ruled himself out as a candidate.

First impression? That no-one could name the five colleagues - and he'd have needed five - who would have backed him.

Second impression? That by making it abundantly clear he wants there to be a contest, he could be giving himself, a Deputy Minister, the leeway and a pretty good reason for handing his nomination to someone other than the leadership's favoured candidate.

And that most of all, the fascinating battle over the future direction of the Welsh Labour Party is on.


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