THE race to be the next first minister has taken a step forward, with Mid and West Wales' Eluned Morgan the latest candidate to officially announce they are putting themselves forward to replace Carwyn Jones.

This takes the number of formal candidates to three, with Mark Drakeford and Vaughan Gething also coming forward.

It's likely this will be the full playing field - each candidate needs nominations from five other AMs to make it onto the ballot paper and, given the number of supporters who have already come forward to back Ms Morgan's two opponents, a fourth candidate may struggle to get the required signatures.

Although it is notable Ms Morgan has come forward despite not having so far received any formal nominations, the party as a whole has been keen to see a woman on the ballot, so it seems likely she'll get the support she needs.

That's not to say she is qualified solely by her gender - Ms Morgan served as an MEP for 15 years from 1994 until 2009 and was granted a peerage in 2011 - making her one of just two AMs to also sit in the House of Lords.

That widespread experience could be just what Wales' controlling party needs - the Welsh Assembly has a tenancy to act as a bit of a silo, acting as if it's completely separate from Westminster when, in reality, we'd be far better served if they worked more closely together, and someone with insider knowledge of how things work could open a lot of doors.

Not to mention that her experience in Brussels could prove crucial once we leave the EU.

But there's no denying she's got an uphill struggle ahead of her - although he has only been an AM since 2011, Mr Drakeford has been a fixture of the Senedd since 1999, having served as Rhodri Morgan's right-hand man, and is very much the Corbynite's choice, while Mr Gething has been seen by many as first minister-in-waiting for some time and has attracted support from the more Blairite wing of the party.

So it looks like we're in for a three-way race.

When Carwyn Jones announced he was stepping down Ken Skates was immediately tipped as a possible successor, but so far the economy and transport secretary with the most dazzling smile in Wales has shown no sign of coming forward, with a number of people in the know saying he's going to keep his powder dry this time round.

Blaenau Gwent's Alun Davies was also tipped as a possible runner, and he's certainly been taking a bit of time recently to outline his position on some of the key issues facing Wales, just this week detailing his proposals for a revamp of Wales' justice system. But it remains to be seen if he'll want to go up against what is already a pretty daunting field of candidates.

But the autumn, when Mr Jones will step down, is some way off, and a lot could happen between now and then.

- As I write this on Tuesday MPs are about to sit down for a marathon two-day session debating a series of amendments to the Brexit Bill presented by the House of Lords.

The fact that just two days has been set aside for deciding the future of our country for decades to come is baffling enough - but all of about 90 minutes of that will be dedicated to the impact on Wales.

As if we didn't already feel like a poor cousin.

Whichever side of the debate you fall on, no one could possibly argue we need to get Brexit right, no matter how long it takes. And one would think it might take a little longer than two days.

Yes, this isn't the first time the bill has come before Parliament and there's a decent chance it won't be the last.

But wouldn't you rather Parliament took the time to get it right now so they don't leave a mess for themselves to clear up later?

I know I would.