Wales politics

Rhodri Morgan: Wales coalition deal led to heart attack

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Media captionRhodri Morgan says two months of negotiations took their toll

Former First Minister Rhodri Morgan has admitted that coalition negotiations with Plaid Cymru after the 2007 assembly election "could have been fatal" for him.

He told BBC Wales that the stress of two months of negotiations led to him suffering a heart attack 48 hours after the deal was finally struck.

In a new report on coalitions, Mr Morgan said stable deals depend on securing the backing of party members.

He advised leaders to "take your time".

The report - Working Together - has been published by the Electoral Reform Society as opinions polls suggest another hung parliament after the general election in May.

'Legitimacy and negotiation'

Writing in the report, Mr Morgan said many Labour members "profoundly distrusted" Plaid Cymru, but had to "ventilate the steam" of their "intense dislike" to reach agreement.

"Coalition is not abhorrent, and it doesn't make a country ungovernable," he wrote.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Plaid Cymru's Ieuan Wyn Jones served as Rhodri Morgan's deputy first minister

Mr Morgan said "legitimacy and negotiation" were key to successful coalitions, recommending special party conferences be held to agree the manifesto promises being dropped for the sake of a deal.

His hospital admission shortly after the 2007 coalition deal was said at the time to have been for "gastric problems".

Plaid Cymru ministers served in a coalition government with Labour in Cardiff Bay from 2007 to 2011.

Cardiff Central Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Willott, who has served as a junior minister in the UK coalition government, said in the report they had proved it could work.

"There have been problems between the parties, but they have been resolved and the Government has held together to the very end," she said.

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