‘Devolution needs a complete overhaul’: Welsh Conservative leader ‘welcomes’ Boris Johnson’s intervention

Paul Davies. © Russell Hart/Alamy Live News.

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives has said that he welcomes Boris Johnson’s “intervention” in which the Prime Minister called devolution a “disaster”.

Senedd Member Paul Davies said that he disagreed that devolution had been a disaster but said that it “needs a complete overhaul”.

In an article for Conservative Home, he said that this was the message he had “heard loud and clear” from Conservative party members.

He said that the main problem was that Wales had been “saddled” with successive Labour-led governments.

“This week the Prime Minister started a debate about devolution, and I welcome his intervention,” he said.

“Not because I agree with him, but because it gives me the chance to outline how as Welsh Conservatives we can address the concerns that he and others have raised.

“The concept of devolution isn’t the problem, and devolution doesn’t cause bad decisions and poor government.

“What holds this nation back is being saddled with successive Welsh Labour-led governments, on whose watch our economy has stagnated, public services have become unresponsive to the needs of the public, and whose ministers pathetically limp along with little energy, passion, or accountability for their performance.

He added: “Usually when a government gets things wrong it’s the drop in the opinion poll ratings for that party which is the indicator.

“But what we are seeing in Wales is a growing number of people blaming devolution instead of the party who are solely responsible for getting things wrong in government.”

 

‘Playing politics’

Paul Davies also said that Welsh Labour’s “greed” for powers had itself undermined devolution, as they ad strayed into areas beyond their competence.

“It’s not just the poor performance of the Welsh Labour Government most highlighted during the pandemic which has affected peoples’ attitudes to devolution,” he said.

“Perversely, Labour administrations have actually undermined the devolution settlement itself by pushing for more and more powers for themselves – while failing to use those at their disposal more effectively. They are more interested in power than progress, and we need to make sure that the public understand this.

“Trying to undermine Brexit, setting up an international relations department, and establishing a commission on justice are examples of a Welsh Labour administration greedy for powers and playing politics with the future of the United Kingdom.

“During the pandemic they have further undermined the Union, often preferring to adopt a different approach than that over the border simply for the sake of being different. Labour has also fuelled community tensions and pandered to Welsh nationalists.”

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