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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

New Welsh Tory leader hits resistance in first conference speech

The inward-looking nature of the Cardiff Bay bubble was on full display yesterday when the new Welsh Tory Leader choose a process issue as the highlight of his first public outing on the UK stage.

The airwaves and other media here in Wales were replete with quotes, soundbites and discussion over the call by Paul Davies at the Tory Conference platform for Carwyn Jones' successor to seek a fresh mandate from Welsh voters in the form of a new Welsh Assembly election.

Anything he might have said or wanted to say about health, education, or the economy was drowned out, leaving us with the impression that Mr. Davies cares more about mandates and elections than he does the problems facing people across Wales. But it didn't end there.

The failure of the Tory Conference organisers to include Mr. Davies' speech in the programme left us with the impression that he was a mere afterthought, unlike Ruth Davidson, who can do no wrong.

We were told that this had happened because Paul Davies had not been elected when the programme was drawn up, but there was not even a generic reference to a speech by the Welsh Tory leader in the schedule. Perhaps they needed to vet him first.

And then, just as we thought the process issue had died down, Mr. Davies suffered the humiliation of having his chief debating point rejected by the Prime Minister. As the BBC reports, Theresa May told reporters that the focus should be on Brexit, not on snap elections.

Perhaps she was afraid that Mr. Davies' obsession with mandates might rub off on her own government and lead to further calls for her to stand down in favour of somebody who might actually win an election.

All-in-all it was not a good start for the new Welsh Tory Leader. After all, it is hard enough getting yourself heard from the depths of the Welsh Assembly chamber as it is, without having your own party treat you as some sort of pariah.
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