A senior advisor to Welsh Conservative frontbencher Andrew RT Davies has promised to campaign to scrap the Welsh Parliament and hand powers back to Westminster if he is selected as a candidate for next May’s election.
Conservative members were sent ballots to rank regional candidates for the Senedd elections this morning, including a segment where candidates set our their political priorities.
One candidate for South Wales Central, Chris Thorne, said he opposed the creation of the institution and would also vote to get rid of it.
Mr Thorne was Chief of Staff for the Wesh Conservatives in the Senedd until 2018 when he quit following the resignation of its party leader Andrew RT Davies.
“It was the Prime Minister who said that devolution had been ‘Tony Blair’s biggest mistake’ and he was right,” Chris Thorne wrote in his pitch to members.
“If I had the opportunity to vote in the first devolution referendum, I would’ve opposed the Assembly’s creation and having seen it close hand it is a view I still hold today.
“Regrettably, devolution has been used by separatists and nationalists to try to break up the UK, and it’s clear they will not be content with any settlement until that is achieved. As a proud Unionist, I will fight this separatist agenda with every sinew of my body and campaign against any further devolution of powers to an Assembly that has failed the great people of Wales for the past two decades. We should also say no to any more politicians in Cardiff Bay.
“I also believe devolution should not be a one-way street. Successive Labour administrations – propped up by the Welsh nationalists – have failed the people of Wales when it comes to the management of public services and the performance of the economy. Why more powers, not fewer?
“In any future referendum on the future of the Assembly, I would vote to abolish the institution.”
Earlier this month it was revealed that Tory candidates for next year’s Senedd election were asked how they would vote in a referendum to abolish the Welsh Parliament, as part of a party selection process.
It was one of three questions asked of all prospective Tory candidates for the South Wales Central regional list.
Conservative Senedd Member David Melding expressed “puzzlement” about a question on abolishing the Senedd being asked during a candidate selection process.
Mr Melding, who is stepping down at the next Senedd election, warned his party against an “ultra sceptical tilt towards devolution” and said that if was ditched it would be the end of the UK.
He also spoke of his “surprise” 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 during the process to select his successor. He asked his party to provide an assurance that the “outcome was the result of a fair and regular process”.
In another section of the candidate CV, Chris Thorne says that he led the professional scrutiny that resulted in Carwyn Jones’ resignation as First Minister.
“As Chief of Staff of the Welsh Conservatives, I led the professional team’s scrutiny of the then First Minister Carwyn Jones following the tragic death of Carl Sergeant,” he said.
“Working alongside the former leader of the opposition and other elected members in the Assembly, I oversaw an intense, 24-7 campaign of scrutiny which resulted in Jones’s premature departure from office.
“Through the use of FOIs, political debates and forensic questioning, we found several discrepancies in his version of events and sought to deliver justice in a very tragic affair.”