22 August 1943
Constituency Cardiff South and Penarth (Westminster) /
Mid Wales (Welsh Assembly)
12,287 in the 2001 Westminster General Elections
Alun Michael was appointed as Welsh Secretary following Ron Davies'
dramatic resignation in 1998. He worked as a Journalist on the South
Wales Echo1966-72 and a youth and community worker 1971-87. He was
appointed a JP in 1972 and chaired the Cardiff Juvenile bench.
He first joined the Labour Party in 1968 and was elected a
Councillor on Cardiff City council in 1973 serving until 1989. He
won Jim Callaghan's old seat Cardiff South and Penarth in the 1987
General Election and was appointed as a Opposition whip 1987-88 and
then Welsh affairs spokesman 1988-92 by Neil Kinnock . Under John
Smith he became Home affairs spokesman in 1992 working under the
then Shadow Home Secretary Tony Blair. He was appointed a Home
Office minister following the election of the Labour Government in
Close to Tony Blair, he was seen as a safe pair of hands to oversee
the setting up of the Assembly and as a candidate capable of
stopping Rhodri Morgan winning a leadership election for the now
vacant post of candidate for the First Minister role. Alun Michael
was stung by allegations that he was Blair's man parachuted into
Wales and later said "There was no truth in it at all. I was born
and brought up in Wales, coming down to Cardiff as a young
journalist and choosing to re-learn Welsh. All of my political
career is established as Welsh."
Opponents claimed he had no interest in the Assembly as he hadn't
been selected to fight a seat prior to his appointment as Secretary
of State and was placed on the top of the Mid Wales regional list
for Labour. He was elected as Labour's Candidate for First Minister
beating Rhodri Morgan after securing the Union block votes and was
elected a regional Member of the Assembly in the 1999 elections.
The row over his appointment and subsequent election was cited as
one reason as to why Labour was unable to form a majority Government
following the Assembly elections despite winning most of the seats
at the 1997 General Election..
Controversy dogged his first year in office facing a no-confidence
motion for his handling of his Agriculture Minister, Christine
Gwyther's resignation and then culminating in a second vote of no
confidence in 2000 over the issue of Objective One status for Wales
which would have secured over £1m of European funding for the
In one of the most dramatic debates in the Assembly's brief history
Michael resigned during his speech on the motion; ironically without
informing Tony Blair who was taken off guard by William Hague
announcing the news during a House of Commons' debate.
Michael left the Welsh Assembly on 1 May 2000 and following the 2001
General Election he was appointed as a minister in the Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Alun Michael later defended his time as First Minister saying "the
important things for me were seeing changes and benefits for them in
jobs, education, services. That was important, rather than setting
out to be an entertainer."