Edwina Hart announced that she’s not seeking re-election as an Assembly Member come next May.
This news that one of the longest serving cabinet ministers is standing down will make it almost a certainty that Carwyn Jones will have a cabinet reshuffle before the election.
It’s not a question of if but when it will happen. The chances are that it will happen sooner rather than later.
The most favourable time is likely to be at the start of the summer holidays – giving time for Ministers to get to grips with their new portfolios before the final months preceding the Assembly elections.
Moving Hart to the backbenchers will provide the opportunity for some real restructuring of cabinet responsibilities.
After all the departing Hart has a heavy portfolio. She has to deal with the economy, business, science and transport.
Giving plenty of scope for the First Minister to do some major surgery on government and a more rational allocation of portfolios. What he’ll want is a lean, mean fighting machine for the election.
Full cabinet status will surely be given to two of the four deputy ministers, namely Ken Skates and Vaughan Gething.
Both have made a good fist of their current jobs and are excellent communicators, qualities that will be put to good use in election year.
More powers, better members?
On the wider front the National Assembly is shortly to receive new enhanced powers and responsibilities.
With so many members standing down it puts the onus on political parties to choose candidates of ability that can match up to the powers that will rest with the new Assembly.