'We've lost a father figure': Wales pays tribute to Rhodri Morgan

039;Father of Wales' Rhodri Morgan dies aged 77

039;Father of Wales' Rhodri Morgan dies aged 77

"Rhodri was an incredibly effective First Minister for Wales".

Morgan, who died yesterday aged 77, won praise from across politics for his role in stabilising the new Welsh Assembly after he replaced Alun Michael in 2000.

"When I was elected to the Assembly in 2007 I got to know the other Rhodri Morgan, the skilful politician whose intelligence and leadership helped cement the foundations of our young democracy - that's his legacy". He is widely credited with having brought stability to the fledgling assembly after a turbulent start to the new institution.

He is survived by his wife, Julie and three children.

Current first minister Carwyn Jones said: "Wales hasn't just lost a great politician, we've lost a real father figure".

Honouring his predecessor, former Mr Jones said: "He was amusing, clever, engaging on nearly any topic and absolutely passionate about all things Welsh".

"I owe him a great deal, just as we all do in Welsh Labour".

"He did so much to fight for, and then establish devolution in the hearts and minds of the public in our country".

Tributes have been paid on social media to Mr Morgan.

Mr Blair said: "He was great company, a fund of marvellous stories and a shrewd and immensely capable politician".

The Labour politician was "both the father of devolution and the father of the nation", former Welsh secretary Lord Hain said.

"He did more than anyone to bed down and ensure the new Welsh Assembly gained widespread legitimacy". A towering figure in every sense whom we will all miss'.

Corbyn praised a "good friend, a great man and, above all, a giant of the Welsh Labour movement".

"While we had our disagreements, for instance over the Cardiff Bay Barrage, Rhodri was always a vigorous and colourful debater, but not personal".

On his 70th birthday in 2009, Mr Morgan relinquished his post as first minister and a year later announced he was retiring from politics.

Mr Jones said: "He was very easy to work with, and he was very likeable, extremely loyal and highly knowledgeable".

"He will be remembered as an extremely charismatic and engaging leader, and the kind words we have heard from so many today show the enormous respect and admiration for Rhodri".

Mr Morgan took over in February 2000.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said he "was much respected across the political spectrum and led Wales with distinction during a crucial period in Welsh history". Rhodri rose above party politics and was the father of devolution.

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