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Pro-devolution Conservative Senedd member withdraws as candidate

29 Jan 2021 3 minute read
Shadow Education and Welsh Language Minister Suzy Davies AM. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

A pro-devolution Conservative Senedd member has withdrawn from being a candidate at the upcoming election, it has been reported.

Suzy Davies, a regional MS for South West Wales, had been chosen by the Tories to fight in the constituency of Bridgend, but party approved candidates have been invited to apply for selection following her withdrawal, according to ITV political editor Adrian Masters.

It has also been reported that the candidacy for the Rhondda constituency seat is now up for grabs.

Ms Davies had recently lost her place on top of the regional list for South West Wales. The Senedd member, who challenged for the Welsh Conservative leadership in 2018, has been an elected representative in the legislature since 2011.

The Welsh Conservatives are essentially guaranteed a list seat in the South Wales West region due to every constituency being a fairly safe Labour seat. However, they are less likely to pick up a second.

The decision not to select Suzy Davies in first place on the list tipped the balance within the Welsh Conservative group towards a more devo-sceptic direction.

Nation.Cymru revealed before Christmas that candidates on the South Wales Central regional list, including key Conservative campaign strategist Chris Thorne, and Calum Davies (Suzy Davies’ son), promised to Abolish the Senedd in their pitch to members.

Suzy Davies’ ousting from the top of the list is the second surprise result of the selection process after Jonathan Morgan, who has previously represented the party in Cardiff Bay and is currently an advisor to party leader Paul Davies, was not shortlisted for South Wales Central.

‘Party dynamics’

Following the internal party election for the regional list Suzy Davies insisted that it was down to “local party dynamics” and unrelated to her pro-devolution stance.

She said: “Thanks all for such kind messages re SWW list changes. I’ve really appreciated it. I know some choose to see this as some sort of devo-related cull, but it really was just good old fashioned local party dynamics. I know my successor will be as keen on a Tory Welsh Gov as l am.”

David Melding, a Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central, spoke out following the news.

Mr Melding, who is stepping down at the next election, and is also pro-devolution, said that he was “particularly grieved” to see her “outstanding and insightful service so meagerly rewarded”.

He added that the Tory Senedd candidate selection process has “not kind to liberal Conservatives”.

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