Andrew RT Davies insists he’s not ‘caretaker’ Tory Senedd leader
Andrew RT Davies has insisted he’s not the “caretaker” leader of the Tories in the Senedd.
He suggested that no politician wants to “write their obituary” and said that he expects to lead the Welsh Conservatives at the next Senedd election in 2026.
The Tory Senedd leader made the comments in an interview with BBC Politics Wales, following the recent Senedd election, which saw his party win 16 seats.
He became leader the resignation of his predecessor, Paul Davies, who allegedly drank alcohol on Welsh Parliament premises, days after the ban on serving drinks in pubs took effect.
Andrew RT Davies, who was asked if he was in his post as “caretaker” leader, said: “I’m in politics for the long run. You don’t stand for election to be a short-term politician. We’ve just come off the best election we’ve ever had.
“I’m looking forward to leading that group in the Welsh Parliament, and taking us on to the next stage.
“We’ve got important local government elections next year. Not long after that will be the General Election.
“I believe the mandate is strong from the Welsh Conservatives and ultimately from the centre right vote here in Wales, and I look forward to bedding that down as we go forward.
“I’m looking forward to going through to 2026, of course I do. No politician wants to write their obituary, and I’m energised and very excited about the future, especially with our record-breaking result”.
He also defended the performance of his party at the Senedd election. It won a record number of seats, but was beaten back by Labour in a number of its key targets.
He said: “I look at this as a really positive performance by the Welsh Conservatives, building on a solid platform going forward. Ultimately, it’s always nip and tuck in a system that has two electoral arrangements in it, whether it’s the regional or the constituency.
“In the constituency we’ve sadly missed out. We’ve substantially increased our vote in those constituencies, but we know full well that there’s no cigar for coming second place.
“But in the regional obviously we picked up extra seats there, and that’s why we’re celebrating I think it’s eight new members coming into the Senedd – a new generation I would say of Conservative MSs arriving in Cardiff Bay.”
“I think generally when you look across the United Kingdom it is the incumbency factor and that’s under a nationalist government in Scotland, the Conservative government in England or a Labour Government here in Wales, and we have to reflect on that.
“Obviously we have to reflect on the campaign. This isn’t just saying ‘it’s been a brilliant success; we don’t need to do anything’ because all parties need to rejuvenate and re-energise themselves.
“But this was a record-breaking campaign, and that cannot be repeated strongly enough, and I have to say when I see the political editor of BBC Wales saying ‘these are disappointing set of results’ as she did say on Friday, I really do think we need to analyse them a bit closer, and actually give the Conservatives a pat on the back, say how successful they’ve been, and ultimately build on that success.”