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Party Time

Betsan Powys | 12:58 UK time, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

In early to hear a lively debate amongst the security staff.

"It's Carwyn isn't it - bound to be".
"Yes, always was. He's the statesman."
"No! It's the lady's. She's got it - sure of it".

I bumped into the Hartinista again later. Still sticking to the lady? He was. I suspect he's got rather a tidy sum on it.

Up in the Bargoed Labour Club last night they thought it would be a close run thing, closer than the snooker match that was going on in the background. But everyone's telling them Carwyn Jones has got it so ... I asked them to stick to 'they' in the interviews about the new leader, rather than 'he'. Yes, I know the maths would suggest 'he's' got it but belts, braces, ifs and buts and all that.

Over in Bridgend Rugby Club the nerves were showing. "I hope you end up using this interview" says one of Carwyn Jones' long-time friends. "If you don't something's not gone according to plan. But you never know do you."

I don't suppose you do, not until the Chair of the Welsh Labour Party has sung.

What happens then?

Whatever the result Carwyn Jones and his team will be raising a glass. Huw Lewis and the gang will be off to a thank you party - all-comers welcome, no matter who you wanted in the job, no matter's who in the job. No news on Mrs Hart's plans.

And then? All eyes turn to next week - and the handover of real power.

On Monday 7th, Rhodri Morgan will chair his last Cabinet as First Minister.

On Tuesday 8th, he will take his last First Minister's Questions session. The Assembly will then vote on on the final budget for 2010-11. The public purse strings will have been tied. Later that afternoon the First Minister will submit his resignation to the Queen. You can, apparently, resign by Email these days as long as there's a hard copy in the post. No romance.

When there's confirmation that the resignation has been accepted - probably on Wednesday - the First Minister, the Counsel General and all government special advisers cease to hold office. Welsh Ministers, including deputy ministers, remain in office until a new Cabinet is appointed.

During plenary on Wednesday the "presumptive" First Minister will be put forward to a vote of the full Assembly. If he or she gets the nod, the Presiding Officer will make a recommendation to the Queen to that effect, again via email.

When the Queen's "approval is communicated" the new First Minister will take the oath, probably on Thursday morning, administered by the most senior judge in Wales. Rhodri Morgan never used to make a big, public deal of this. The new First Minister might want to. By the way the oath is laid out in Section 3 of the Promissory Oaths Act 1868 and can be administered in Welsh.

The First Minister will then supply a list of Welsh Ministers to Her Majesty for approval. Any new Ministers - who have not already sworn an oath as current Ministers - will take the oath, probably by Thursday afternoon.

So you have until Thursday week to come up with your thoughts on a new Cabinet. The same goes for the new Labour leader who's been sitting in the chamber this afternoon ... eyeing the chair bang in the middle of the front row.


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