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Monday, May 12, 2014

Welsh Tory split widens

The split in the Welsh Conservative Assembly Group widened into a chasm this morning as a fifth AM stepped up to publicly berate his leader.

The Western Mail reports that the South Wales West regional AM Byron Davies has hit out at Andrew RT Davies’ decision to replace Nick Ramsay as chair of the Enterprise and Business Committee, saying the committee chair appointment system was open to “moral corruption” by leaders and should be overhauled.

The paper adds that he has also criticised the sacking of four Conservative AMs for refusing to vote with the party leadership criticising UK Government policy on proposed income tax-varying powers as “ludicrous”.

It transpires that Byron has missed the last eight sittings of the Enterprise and Business Committee in protest at Nick Ramsay’s sacking, leaving the opposition one short on all but one of those occasions. I am not sure that the Presiding Officer will take a very charitable view of such a boycott.

I happen to agree with Byron Davies that Committee Chairs should be elected as they are in Westminster but there are processes that can be followed to deliver this reform and that matter is being considered at the moment.

Add to Byron's act of rebellion the continuing disaffection of the four rebels and it seems that that the Welsh Conservative Assembly Group is at war with itself. Despite this Andrew R.T. Davies went to his Welsh Conference calling for a united opposition against the Welsh Labour Government.

How he hopes to unite the opposition behind his leadership when he cannot control his own group is a very valid question.
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