David Jones and Andrew RT Davies with the Prime Minister in April 2013

Taxing times for the Tories

Differences of opinion have resurfaced between Welsh Conservative Assembly Members and between their leader and the Welsh Secretary

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'Two toothless men fighting over a toothbrush' says Plaid about Labour-Tory spat

Plaid Cymru has weighed into a row between Welsh Labour and the Welsh Conservatives over a delayed decision on tax and borrowing powers. Plaid AM Simon Thomas called the argument between Tory leader Andrew RT Davies and Labour AM Mike Hedges 'a unionist spat' and added:

This is a case of two toothless men fighting over who lost the toothbrush.

Plaid Cymru is the only party that can deliver for Wales. Unionist parties are ignoring the evidence and letting us down.

Only by putting Wales First will a Welsh Government enable our nation to reach its full potential in the community of nations.

– Simon Thomas AM, Plaid Cymru

Welsh Tory leader hits back at 'toothless' gibe

The Welsh Conservatives are hitting back at a Labour attack on their leader Andrew RT Davies over a delayed decision on transferring tax and borrowing powers to Wales. Labour AM Mike Hedges called the Opposition Leader 'toothless' for not putting enough public pressure on his Westminster colleagues.

It follows a delay in the UK Government's response to the Silk Commission which last year recommended the transfer. A Welsh Conservative spokesman had this to say:

Our public commitment to the full implementation of Silk One remains unswerving. Perhaps Mike Hedges’ short memory has also forgotten his running Swansea Council into the ground. It is Labour’s squandering of public money that Silk’s recommendations – when introduced - will properly hold to account.

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'Toothless' Tory leader urged to pressure Westminster

The Welsh Conservative leader should put pressure on his Westminster colleagues to speed up a decision on transferring tax and borrowing powers, according to a Labour AM. The transfer was recommended last year by the Silk Commission, but the UK Government still hasn't given its response.

Andrew RT Davies has recently urged the UK Government to stop delaying the decision, but he should put public pressure on his Conservative colleagues in Westminster, according to Swansea East AM Mike Hedges.

I cannot remember a more toothless Welsh Tory leader. He seems to be utterly ignored not only by his Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Wales but his own colleagues in Cardiff Bay.

If he’s got any real sway within Tory ranks, he should stop dithering and put pressure on his Westminster colleagues to remove their roadblock on progress and give the Welsh Labour Government the tools to deliver for the people of Wales.

The Wales Office has said it takes the Silk Commission recommendations seriously but that it needs to make sure the decision is taken carefully and considers the findings of a consultation on Stamp Duty Land Tax.

BBC should answer to Assembly says Davies

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies will call later for the BBC to be made answerable to the Assembly. He's writing to the BBC and the UK Government saying that the broadcaster's decisions in Wales should be audited and scrutinised by politicians here.

He says the change should take place as part of the BBC's Charter renewal and be in place from 2017.In a speech to the Institute for Welsh Governance in Aberystwyth, Mr Davies is expected to say

The £40 million annual budget that the BBC operates on in Wales is for the licence payers of Wales, therefore it is only right that it is audited and scrutinised as close to the operation as possible – in Wales.The editorial decisions that are taken in Wales not just on politics but on how Wales is reported must be scrutinised by the most important body in Wales.

Just 3 years out from the new Charter taking effect, I want to set the ball rolling, by recognising the BBC’s importance, by respecting its role and by standing up for all licence fee payers and those who care about plurality, value for money and the highest standards of reporting.

– Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Opposition

Senior Welsh Tories fail to hide their differences

by Adrian Masters

David Jones today used his speech at the Conservative Party Conference to criticise Labour for failing to use devolution effectively to deal with Wales' problems.

The Welsh Secretary called on ministers to work more closely with the UK Government.

Meanwhile, Andrew RT Davies has questioned the future of the Secretary of State's role.

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Tory leader questions Wales Office future

The Welsh Conservative leader has called for a debate on abolishing the Wales Office. Andrew RT Davies says creating a powerful 'Department of the Nations' could give Wales a stronger voice in Westminster than the current set-up.

It's being seen as a veiled criticism of the present Wales Office which is led by a Conservative Secretary of State. Andrew RT Davies says change could prevent Wales being 'marginalised' at a UK level.

Prime Minister refuses to be drawn on Silk report

The Prime Minister has refused to say when there'll be a decision on giving the Welsh Government some tax and borrowing powers. A decision had been expected last Spring but David Cameron says there is now no date planned.

The Tory leader has also repeated his criticism of the Welsh Government's handling of the health service. He's been speaking to our Political Editor Adrian Masters.

Welsh Govt "lazy and reckless" says Tory leader

The leader of the opposition, Andrew RT Davies has attacked the Welsh Government's legislative programme, claiming that what he called "lazy Labour" isn't delivering for the people of Wales. He also claimed that ministers are showing a reckless approach to law-making.

A number of these proposed Bills, including plans to end domestic violence, are very welcome but beg the question why lazy Labour Ministers have been so slow in bringing them forward. While we support the proposals to give local health boards greater flexibility in finance planning to help them cope with Labour’s record-breaking NHS cuts, fast-tracking the Bill limits the ability for AMs to properly scrutinise the plans.

Announcing the decision to fast-track the NHS Finance Bill on the day the Welsh Government is using an emergency procedure to rush through legislation on agricultural wages shows a reckless contempt for scrutiny and a slapdash and lazy approach to law-making.

Carwyn Jones’ government continues to coast its way through this Assembly term at a time when Wales needs an ambitious administration chomping at the bit to help Wales reach its potential. With delivery in education, the NHS and the economy getting worse by the day, Carwyn Jones’ plans for the next batch of Welsh laws will hardly inspire confidence.

– Leader of the Opposition Andrew RT Davies AM
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