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Former Conservative Senedd member warns party against undermining the Senedd

01 Jun 2021 3 minute read
David Melding. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

A former Conservative Senedd member has warned his party against undermining the Senedd.

In a reflection on his 22 years as an elected member for South Wales Central, David Melding, who stepped down as an MS at the election, said the Tories shouldn’t “fear” devolution.

He argued on the conservative Gwydir website, that there is no “no evidence that the Welsh electorate want devolution to undermine the UK”.

Melding also said that his party will win an election in Wales when it is “confident” in how it can “creatively use the devolved institutions”.

He said: “I believe in Britain, the coherence and possibilities contained in a devolved UK state. We cannot secure our political vision by undermining Welsh and Scottish political institutions.

“Rather it is our aim to weave these institutions into the full expression of a coherent and renewed Union.

“We need not fear the diversity, choice and challenge that devolution has brought to British politics. After all most democratic multinational states have a devolved or federal structure.

“Conservatives will win in Wales once we are confident about how we can creatively use the devolved institutions established in 1999. There is no evidence that the Welsh electorate want devolution to undermine the UK.

“The value of Union is widely recognised as is the happy realisation that we can have the best of both worlds – a confident Wales in a strong UK.

“I thought this when first elected to the Assembly in 1999 and I believe it as firmly in 2021 as I leave the Senedd.


“My biggest disappointment as I look back is that my generation never quite made the Welsh Conservative Party a party of government in Wales. That is the threshold on which we now stand.”

“Above all we need the confidence to win. I have emphasised this throughout my time in the Senedd. History and culture are not insuperable barriers as we see today as our Party breaches the red wall of former Labour dominance. A new message of ambition and purpose was made possible by devolution.

“Wales could lead the way and show that Conservative governments are possible in Wales and Scotland.

“This would mark the turn away from loose identity politics towards a realisation that a range of democratic choices are available within the devolved institutions. The Senedd and the Scottish Parliament cannot be reduced to one political option that is intent on dissolving the UK.”

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3 years ago

There goes the Conservatives’ one and only overtly pro-Wales Senedd member. He is a lone voice in the wilderness. Their current understated anti-devolution stance will never win them power in the Senedd. They can, however, sit back and watch Boris Johnson undermine devolution from a distance.

3 years ago

Mr Melding the problem is that too many of us feel that independence from England I’d the only way to acieve the government that the people of Wales deserve. Your colleagues in the U.K. government seem to me to be a self serving band of individuals who have lost any sense of public service. The Tory Party is in effect now UKIP so for me it has no legitimacy here. If we look westwards we see that a small country can govern itself and be successful without the over riding hand of the English. Wales can then have left or… Read more »

3 years ago

As someone who doesn’t consider themselves conservative, even I can see how a pro-devolution conservative party could do fairly well. Or at least better then their current situation. We’re a largely rural nation, with a geographical structure not unlike our western neighbour Ireland. And unlike Wales, Ireland has been run by two centre-right parties for decades and their low-tax, business focused policies appear to have been very successful for them. So instead of trying to undermine devolution the conservatives in Wales need to emphasise how a more devolved, more autonomous Wales could use some small ‘c’ conservative policies to it’s… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by Alex
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex

Once (or, more pessimistically, if) media is devolved, the focus of the Welsh public could well shift onto Welsh-specific issues. Only then will we see a right-leaning party (maybe even a decentralised Welsh Conservative Party) be more than merely an arm of the Tories. Until then, expect them to be reactionary, ladder-climbers who desperately ache for a pat on the head from some bloke with a double barrelled name.

3 years ago
Reply to  CJPh

Couldn’t have put it better. Well said C J Ph.

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