The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives and Education Secretary was fired by the Prime Minister over support for a justice devolution referendum sending a shockwave through Westminster and the Senedd. This move has reasserted the Prime Minister’s authority and shows that CCHQ will stamp out any rebels. It appears that devolution is a redline when it comes to the autonomy of devolved leaders and anyone failing to toe the national parties line on devolution will follow the path of RhysGwenythIV.
The government replaced the education secretary with party loyalist and former leadership candidate BrexitGlory. This leaves BrexitGlory with four positions in government, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Education Secretary. The Prime Minister will be hoping that this appointment can reunite the cabinet as they head into a difficult election with the Conservatives forecasted to lose 8 seats.
RhysGwenythIV fiercely criticised the national Conservative Party in a resignation letter and said that the party is “riddled with the misconception that Wales is a joke” and that the membership “treats it as such.” He also attacked the government support for the high threshold requirement in the referendum of 75% and said that “it is clear that the party will never fully respect democracy in Wales.” For many pundits this will confirm that the national Conservative Party is exerting control over the devolved branches to further their anti-devolution agenda in Westminster. For opposition parties Mr Gwenyth’s sacking has proved them right with the LPC seizing on his departure.
In the removal of Mr GwenythIV, the interests of Wales have been exposed as secondary to the interests of the Westminster establishment and the Welsh Conservativescthulhuiscool2
RhysGwenythIV headed for the Liberal Democrats joining former Welsh First Minister model-willem in the party. He is yet another Classical Liberal which has left the party. The Liberal Democrats are now home to former Welsh Tory Leaders and also managed to bag the Welsh Tory Deputy Leader ohdearstudying who opted to also leave the party in solidarity with RhysGwenythIV. This also mean the party has lost an MP and an active member who was seen as a rising star by some.
The Telegraph managed to obtain a copy of ohdearstudying’s resignation letter. He also delivered serious blows to the Tory leadership.
It is with a heavy heart that I cannot continue in my position as Deputy Leader in the knowledge that the Welsh Conservatives are being cast aside and ignored for the sake of “national policyohdearstudying
He also argued that the “Welsh Conservatives have been cast aside in favour of what Westminster feels is best for the party – even though it blatantly ignores the will of the People”
The Welsh Conservatives are in turmoil now losing both members of their leadership. A successor is yet to be chosen. When asked for comment ohdearstudying told the Telegraph the following:
“It seemed to me that Welsh Conservatives were seen as a proxy of the national party and they didn’t respect the leader standing up for his own principles on behalf of the People of Wales. It does not matter if the polls would not nosedive but it is about the respect for the will of the people who voted in for a significant amount of parties on the basis of the prospect of a referendum. It met the requirements in the Senedd and it felt as if we, and the Welsh People, were being undermined and ignored entirely in favour of what they claim to be a “party” decision. The Leader merely translated the concerns of the party to those higher up – hardly a crime.ohdearstudying
There is no doubt that losing all members of the Welsh Leadership, a cabinet member, two MP’s and two AM’s will cause disruption to the Tories and disrupt the Conservatives momentum ahead of the election. However it is a risk the Prime Minister has decided was worth taking in order to tame any rebellion over devolution. Only time will tell if that gamble has paid off.