Tony blair will stand down as Prime Minister in May 2008, former Labour leader Lord Kinnock predicts today.
Lord Kinnock, who expects Mr Blair to be succeeded by Chancellor Gordon Brown, said any new leader would need at least a year to settle in 10 Downing Street before an expected general election in 2009.
Mr Blair has already said that he will not fight another general election as leader, although he has so far refused to be drawn on when he would step aside.
He has consistently used the phrase 'a full third term in office' when pressed on a timetable for departure.
Both Mr Blair and Mr Brown were rising stars in Labour during Lord Kinnock's tenure as leader between 1983 and 1992. Next week sees the 20th anniversary of his famous party conference speech which saw him take on the Trotskyist militant tendency in the Labour party, the defining moment of his leadership and arguably the beginning of the modernisation process that ended with Mr Blair winning power in 1997.
In an interview with the ePolitix.com website, published today , the former Islwyn MP also says he would need 'a lot of reassurance' before being convinced the Assembly should be given law-making powers.
Asked about the succession to the premiership, he says, 'He [Tony Blair] made the decision before the election that it would be his last as leader. I know he will give his successor a reasonable time to work in, which would be at least the cycle of a year.
'The very nature of the parliamentary system means there won't be any question of a departure that is up against the wire of the parliament act [to end the parliamentary term]. The custom has been established of elections about every four years so, work it back from there, it would by May 2008.'
Asked whether the current arguments about the Welsh devolution settlement vindicated his long-standing opposition to the Assembly, he says, 'I'm not going in for vindication, and my view is the narrow majority for devolution in the referendum is that we have got to make it work. It's no good fighting old battles.'
Lord Kinnock - then plain Neil Kinnock - led the campaign against devolution in 1979, but played no part in the 1997 campaign, despite his reservations.
He has said since he would campaign against giving full law-making powers to Cardiff Bay, a move Labour's White Paper says would require a fresh referendum.
'I would say that the proposal to change the nature of devolution by providing tax-raising powers and law making powers would require another referendum and I would need a lot of reassurance that such devolution would not work to the disadvantage of Wales.'
His instinct was to be 'strongly against' such a change, he said.
Under the proposed changes in the White Paper, the Assembly would have the power, after 2007, to draft its own laws, which would then be fast-tracked through Westminster - subject to a veto. Any move to Scottish-style powers would need a fresh referendum, triggered by a two-thirds vote in the Assembly.
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has said such a public poll would be lost if held today.
Lord Kinnock also pours cold water on the idea that Labour - short of a majority in the Assembly - could be removed by a grand coalition of the other parties.
He dismissed the idea as a 'Heinz coalition' of 57 different varieties.
He also talks about the need to reform the PR system for the Assembly, although he called for some form of PR to be introduced for Westminster election.
'I want PR not only maintained in Wales but extended to Westminster but the party list top up system is something I have always been against.'