The future of the “precious union” is on the ballot at the upcoming Senedd election according to a senior Tory.
Dr Tomos Dafydd Davies, Deputy Chairman of the Welsh Tories, has called for his party to offer an “unashamed defence” of the UK because of the rise of support for independence, on the conservative website Gwydir.
A YouGov opinion poll has put support for an independent Wales at 33 per cent, and membership of grassroots pro-independence group YesCymru has rocketed to almost 17,000.
Dr Davies claimed that most Conservatives have come to “accept and live with devolution” but argued that they needed to “draw a line in the sand” and that the party’s manifesto should “proclaim a complete moratorium on any further devolution of powers end of the next Welsh Parliament term.”
A Welsh political barometer opinion poll suggests that 71 per cent of people who intend to vote Conservative in the constituency vote and 67 per cent who said they’d vote for the party on the regional list would support abolishing the Senedd if there was a referendum.
Dr Davies said: “For those of us who care and believe passionately in our precious United Kingdom, there can no longer be any room for complacency.
“As incredulous as it may have once seemed, the Welsh independence movement can no longer be classed as a fringe movement. Recent polling suggests that as many as a quarter of Welsh voters would consider backing independence if a referendum was held tomorrow.
“Whilst most Conservatives have come to accept and live with devolution, we are all united in our desire to bring an end to perpetual debates around more powers.
“I have previously written of my optimism that with the passage of the last Wales Bill, we might finally, just finally, draw a line in the sand and focus on policy outcomes, not process.
“The Welsh Conservative Party leadership seemingly understands the political frustration and resentment of Welsh voters, as evidenced by Paul Davies’ more sceptical tone towards devolution.
“The next Conservative Manifesto, without prevarication, should proclaim a complete moratorium on any further devolution of powers until the end of the next Welsh Parliament term.
“Taking a leaf out of Ruth Davidson, and now Douglas Ross’s successful stewardship of our Scottish Conservative cousins, it is time the Welsh Conservatives similarly offered a full-throttled and unashamed defence of our Union.
“As the Conservative party begins to grease its election machine ahead of next year’s Senedd elections, the campaign should settle on a clear, concise and compelling electoral message.
“Be in no doubt. The future of our precious Union is on the ballot.”