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New Shadow Secretary of State for Wales appointment ‘nightmare’ for Andrew RT Davies

10 Jul 2024 4 minute read
L: Andrew RT Davies – R: Lord Byron Davies

Emily Price

Questions have been raised about the future relationship between the Welsh Conservatives with the UK party following the appointment of the new Shadow Secretary for Wales.

Former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appointed Lord Byron Davies as the new shadow Welsh secretary after the Tories suffered a wipeout in Wales leaving no MPs to take the position.

Lord Davies was elected as the Member of Parliament for Gower from 2015 to 2017 and as a member of the Welsh Assembly from 2011 to 2015.

As the shadow Welsh secretary he will now scrutinise the new Labour government in Westminster.

Announcing his appointment on X, Lord Davies wrote: “I’m delighted to have been appointed by Rishi Sunak as the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales. As a proud Welshman, I’m looking forward to continuing to represent and champion Wales’ best interests and holding Government to account.”

Tory sources described the new appointment as a “nightmare” for the most senior Conservative in Wales, Andrew RT Davies who had a fractious relationship with the Lord following a fiery row that erupted between the pair a decade ago.

News reports from 2014 reveal how Byron Davies very publicly savaged Andrew RT Davies – even refusing to attend committee meetings in protest against him.

The then South Wales West AM hit out at the Tory leader after he replaced his colleague Nick Ramsay as the chair of the Enterprise and Business Committee saying the system was open to “moral corruption” by leaders.

Row

Andrew RT Davies had been at the centre of a Welsh Conservative feud over his decision to sack Mr Ramsay, Antoinette Sandbach, Janet Finch-Saunders and Mohammad Asghar from his shadow cabinet after they defied the whip.

The row was over the removal of the “lockstep” – a mechanism ensuring all income tax bands change by the same amount.

The four sacked colleagues had refused to support a Plaid Cymru amendment which criticised the UK Government’s proposals for income tax-varying powers in Wales.

Byron Davies – a former Metropolitan Police detective – accused the Welsh Tory leader of bullying members into supporting his stance.

Speaking to the media in 2014, he said: “I’m unhappy about the way that issue was dealt with. I would never go outside of my own party – on the lockstep – I’d never go outside of supporting the party on it. We were almost bullied into doing it and they stood their ground and have been penalised. I just can’t understand that.”

The rift continued in 2017 when Byron Davies spoke out against the decision to bring Mark Reckless into the Conservative party branding him a “cast off” before laying into the leadership of Andrew RT Davies.

Mr Reckless was one of seven AMs originally elected to represent UKIP at the 2016 election before defecting to Andrew RT Davies’ group.

Byron Davies was later elected Welsh Conservative Chair and called for “strong leadership in the assembly”.

At the time, Andrew RT Davies called for the Welsh Conservatives to have a designated leader who could make independent decisions.

When questioned by the BBC on whether he supported Andrew RT Davies as Conservative leader in the Senedd, the chairman said: “The Welsh Conservatives have a very strong identity as being the Conservative party in Wales.

“I do not believe that we need any change. What we do need is strong leadership in the assembly, of the assembly group.

“At the moment he’s the elected member by the assembly members and that’s a matter for them.”

We asked the Welsh Conservatives whether the feud between Lord Davies and the Senedd Tory Leader had been put to bed – but we did not receive a response.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
3 days ago

No ‘proud Welshman’ joins the Tory party. End. There is no such thing as a WELSH Tory. This guy, however, may be of some use. A SHADOW Secretary of State for Wales who could end up doing more for our country than the previous Secretary of State for keeping Wales down by feuding with, ruffling, angering and disrupting RT, the incumbent enemy within.

Andrew
Andrew
3 days ago

Perhaps the first thing Lord Byron Davies could do as a proud Welshman is to catch up on recent Welsh political history. The Welsh Assembly doesn’t exist any more, its The Senedd.

Chris
Chris
3 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

The quote from Byron this week doesn’t refer to the assembly.

The quote you’re referring to was from a decade ago.

Riki
Riki
3 days ago

Wales – Englands play thing since 1536! A insult that not too many people in Wales seem to mind.

Howie
Howie
3 days ago
Reply to  Riki

Nothing changed since last Thursday either.

Rob
Rob
3 days ago

I’m not a fan of RT Davies but he has more of a democratic mandate over Welsh affairs than Byron Davies. Even if Sunak had appointed an MP rather than a lord it would still be undemocratic because they would have had to come from an English constituency. The position of Welsh Secretary or Shadow Welsh Secretary is unnecessary post-devolution

John Ellis
John Ellis
3 days ago

In the aftermath of their cataclysmic defeat in the Westminster election, my sense is that it was inevitable that Tories would resort to devouring one another as a natural outcome of their disappointment, anger and grief.

This strikes me as just one small manifestation of all that.

Aggie Llew
Aggie Llew
3 days ago

Party with no MPs in Cymru appoints unelected Lord as pretend overseer of said country. Minor politician from minority out of touch party said do be upset.
Public said to be …. Uninterested

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