Andrew RT Davies has been appointed as the new Leader of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Senedd.
Paul Davies resigned as leader yesterday after it was alleged that he and other politicians drank alcohol on Welsh Parliament premises, days after the ban on serving drinks in pubs took effect.
The former leader said that he was “truly sorry” for his actions, and that they had “damaged trust” with the Welsh people. Conservative MS Darren Millar, who was also involved, has also said that he is stepping down from his frontbench role.
An internal investigation has established that alcohol was consumed by five people at the Senedd during a lockdown. According to a statement by Llywydd, Elin Jones MS, four of these are elected members, and the Standards Commissioner will now investigate to see of the Code of Conduct was broken.
It has been concluded that a possible breach of regulations occurred and the matter has also been referred to Cardiff Council.
Andrew RT Davies was appointed to the role of leader following a meeting of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Senedd this morning.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “Becoming leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd once again is a great honour and privilege, and I’m pleased to enjoy the unanimous support of my colleagues to take us forward after a difficult few days for us all.
“On behalf of the Group I want to pay tribute to Paul Davies for his service as leader. Paul is not only a colleague but a trusted friend, who has served his constituents and party with distinction, and will continue to do so.
“There is urgent work in front of all of us and our immediate focus will be continuing to hold the Labour administration in the Senedd to account on vital issues such as the vaccine rollout, and fighting May’s election alongside our excellent slate of candidates and dedicated volunteers.
“We are in a moment like no other, and the COVID-19 pandemic has sadly only served to shine a spotlight on the challenges in people’s everyday lives; challenges that have been made all the harder by twenty of Welsh Labour Government failure.”
He added: “From our fragile economy to ever increasing NHS waiting lists, people in Wales have been badly let down by successive Labour administrations. Let me be clear; devolution isn’t the issue, it is the socialists in the Labour Party, and Wales deserves better.
“In just over 100 days, the Welsh public will head to the ballot box to decide on the future they want for our country and in the coming weeks and months the Welsh Conservatives will put forward a positive plan to get Wales moving again and build back our country better than ever.
“This will be in tough election during a tough time for our country and whereas other parties want to use this period to divide and separate, we’ll seek to unite our country and deliver a strong voice for Wales, in a strong United Kingdom.”
Chair of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Senedd, Janet Finch-Saunders MS said: “Following a meeting of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Senedd this morning, I’m pleased to confirm that Andrew RT Davies has been endorsed unanimously as our new leader in the Senedd.
“As Chairman of the Group, I want to say thank you to Paul Davies for his immense efforts in the post since 2018. Paul played a key role in our record-breaking General Election in 2019, whilst setting the groundwork ahead of May’s Senedd election.
“Our attention now turns to May and taking the fight to the Labour Party.”
It is understood that Labour MS Alun Davies was involved in the incident involving alcohol on Senedd premises, and he has been suspended by his party A solicitor for Conservative MS Nick Ramsay has issued a statement on behalf of his client, which says that he was not involved, and that he “sat on his own” and “had a chicken curry”.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: “After a car crash the backseat driver returns to put Wales in reverse. Once rejected by his own Senedd team he will now embark on his pet project of stripping our Senedd of powers and setting Welsh democracy back decades.
“There are three options facing voters in May. Standing still under Labour, going backwards with the Tories or joining Plaid Cymru on the journey towards a free and fair Wales.”
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart MP said: “Congratulations Andrew RT Davies on the unanimous appointment as leader of the Conservative Group in the Senedd.
“I’ve known Andrew for many years – a formidable campaigner. I look forward to continuing our friendship into the most important Senedd election that there’s ever been.”