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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Welsh Tory group split on Europe

With Tory MPs and cabinet ministers split over Europe it was inevitable that the Welsh Conservative Group in the National Assembly for Wales would also be split. And so it proved.

There is already controversy because the Conservative leader in Wales, Andrew R.T. Davies has come out for leaving the EU, effectively abandoning the many people in Wales reliant on EU funding and markets. It may not play well with the farming community when they realise the implications of this move.

But Andrew R.T. Davies is no Boris, whilst his group do not have the level of influence that can be exercised by the Michael Gove's and Iain Duncan Smith's of this world. Nevertheless, yesterday's vote in the Assembly Plenary was instructive.

In total four AMs voted against and one abstained on the following motion:

Believes that Wales and the UK should remain members of the EU and resolves to build a stronger dialogue with European institutions such as the Committee of the Regions.

The four opposed were Mark Isherwood, Darren Millar, William Graham and Andrew R.T. Davies. The abstainer was Mohammed Ashgar.
As to farming support, it would be instructive if the governments in Westminster and Cardiff were asked if they would be prepared to return to a system of deficiency payments, which was the UK scheme before we joined the EC (as it was then), in the event of Brexit. A contributor on this farmers' blog pointed out that "One good thing about such a system is it would give the government a financial incentive to make sure the supermarkets are giving us a fair deal."

I suspect that both leaders would answer in essence that they don't answer hypothetical questions. But surely DEFRA wonks, if they are doing their job, will have looked at this?

Peter Black wrong yet again, I have been a prominent support of the European project & campaigned for the “Yes Vote” in 1975. Why I voted on the recent motion in that way was as a protest in respect of the way in which Labour & Plaid Cymru have denied Welsh Conservatives membership of the committee of the regions despite being the official opposition in the assembly.
Happy to publish that explanation William
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