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‘Abolish the Senedd because we can’t win Welsh elections’ says Tory website

04 Jan 2021 4 minutes Read
The Senedd. Picture by Senedd Cymru.

A Tory website has published an article calling for the abolition of the Senedd because the party can’t win elections in Wales.

Michael Evans argues in Prydain Review that “devosceptism” is the “inescapable future” for his party because the idea that a Conservative Welsh Government is possible is a “shallow lie”.

He said that the Conservatives cannot win enough constituency seats to get an outright majority and that a deal between the party and Plaid Cymru was not possible.

Mr Evans also claimed that any Tory who tells you otherwise is “disrespecting you and insulting your intelligence”.

The Welsh Conservatives currently have 11 seats out of 60 in the Senedd, and would need to win 31 for an outright majority, which is an increase of 20.

 

‘Devosceptic’

Mr Evans said: “When faced with devosceptic opinions, there is a stock answer given by the leadership. It goes like this: ‘Yes, devolution hasn’t worked for 20 years, but that’s Labour’s fault. We can make it work with a Welsh Conservative Government.

“As Henry Hill has pointed out, this is a distinction without a practical difference. But it is also a dishonest position that diminishes those who trot it out.

“Devolution is not just the Welsh Government, but the Senedd. And the Senedd’s electoral system is semi-proportional. Even Labour has never won an outright majority. A Tory who tells you that the Welsh Conservatives can win outright is lying to you, disrespecting you and insulting your intelligence.

“The Additional Member System incorporates first past the post constituency results with the D’hondt method for allocating the 20 regional seats. In English, this means that the more constituencies you win, the fewer regional members you get.

“The Conservative vote is fairly evenly spread across the five Senedd regions, meaning that their road to a majority has to be based on constituencies only.

“This would be extremely tough even if it was just a first past the post election with the 40 constituency seats; in that scenario the Senedd Conservatives would need to improve on the successful 2019 Westminster tally. But with the Additional Member System it is impossible.

“To win an outright majority, the Welsh Conservatives would need to increase their number of constituency wins from 6 to 31. This means that to get to a majority of just one, their ‘must win’ seats would include Llanelli, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Neath, Ceredigion, Newport East, Ogmore and Islwyn.

“When they’ve never even won the Vale of Glamorgan at an Assembly election, one can see that the suggestion of winning all those seats is beyond absurd.”

‘No coalition’ 

He added: “And there will be no coalition, not that the suggestion of one would assuage devosceptic concerns about devolution in any case. Plaid Cymru has ruled out a coalition with the Welsh Conservatives.

“There is no scenario, other than being the larger partner in a coalition, that would be more preferable to Plaid than holding the Senedd balance and forcing a Labour minority government to dance to its tune.

“There will be no Tory majority, and there will be no Tory-Plaid deal. There is a dawning realisation across the Party that the Welsh Conservatives cannot win. That devolved politics is a cul-de-sac for the Party.

“The implication of this for the devolution debate in the Conservative Party is simple. Conservative MSs point to every problem with the Welsh Government, but have no viable solution. They can’t win. They can’t change anything. So solutions will be sought elsewhere.

“Difficult questions are coming, and nobody is going to be fobbed off with the shallow lie that a Welsh Conservative government is possible.”

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