In response to a motion tabled by the Libertarian Cymru the Leader Of The Welsh Conservatives has come out in favour of a justice devolution referendum. He apologised to the Welsh people that he ‘had ever tried’ to stop a referendum. In a passionate speech he said he couldn’t stand by after such a call for the referendum to deny it. He cited his political influence, David Cameron in his speech.
I’ve sat on that fact for many nights in my study and kitchen. I’ve sat wondering if I can’t truly call myself a Cameronite if I don’t do the same. The fact is I can’t.RhysDallen
He later condemned the turnout requirements imposed by the House Of Lords as ‘undemocratic’. He accused them of being too high and shifting the goalposts. This is a stark u-turn from the Welsh Conservatives who have forcefully opposed a referendum on Justice devolution, it also signals a huge break away from the previous stance of the Welsh Conservatives to oppose a referendum happening this term. It is believed they redlined a justice devolution referendum in talks with the Libertarians before agreeing to delay it by 5 months as a compromise position. RhysDallen only 16 days voted against a referendum on justice devolution in Westminster. Mr Dallen has conceded that he has tried to stop a referendum and has apologised for it.
When asked for comment the First Minister of Wales, /u/Secretary-Salami spoke to the Telegraph:
As the First Minister championing the justice and policing devolution referendum to be held, I am extremely pleased to see this change of stance by the leader of the Welsh Conservatives. It is only right that all parties of the Senedd accept the fact that the Welsh people have spoken loud and clear about wanting a referendum to be held. However it of course remains to be seen whether this change of stance is a personal one, or will the Welsh Conservatives and indeed the national party accept the facts and come to the same conclusion, that this is the only way to go forward. Whether you oppose or support the devolution of said powers, a referendum on the matter is the will of the people.Secretary_Salami
The Leader of the Welsh Libertarians welcomed the u-turn and congratulated Mr Dallen for “standing strong in support of his principles and throwing off the immense pressure of his counterparts in Westminster.” He told us that the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives was right to describe the amendments as undemocratic and that with his support the policing and justice referendum has a deafening mandate.
The Telegraph decided to speak to the Shadow Minister for Finance and Wales about the matter of a justice devolution referendum to see if RhysDallen’s colleagues agreed with him. He told us the following on the matter of a referendum:
I was elected to the Senedd on a clear opposition to the Justice Devolution Referendum platform. In any forthcoming referendum, as per our manifesto commitments, I will campaign for a ‘No’ vote. I intend to stick to that until such a time a new election is called with a new manifesto drafted. Whatever the result may be, the true cost of justice devolution must be made clear.Skullduggery12
This implies that he will not support a justice devolution referendum this term, this in direct contrast to the Welsh Conservative Leader who told us they would be backing a referendum this term but only if it was “free” and “fair” and if there was “enough time provided for all the facts to be made clear and the cases heard then a referendum is what is on order”. It is clear that the Welsh Conservatives are now divided on this matter with Mr Dallen telling the telegraph that the “The Conservative Party is a party of British Values. Chief amongst which is democracy. Every person in society views differently what their mandate is on x or y.”
The Prime Minister indicated his party in Westminster still does not support a referendum meaning that several AM’s will be taking a different stance to their Welsh Leader as they oppose a referendum this term. This is a sizeable shift from the leader of the Welsh Conservatives which has left his party divided and could lead to him taking some flak from his Westminster counterparts.