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Call for Tory leader to have Brexit role rebuffed by Welsh Govt

There's been a swift rebuff from the Welsh Government for a call to give Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies the chair of a committee advising the Welsh Government on Brexit.

The chair of Vote Leave in Wales, the former Welsh Secretary David Jones had suggested that as Carwyn Jones proved to be out of touch with Welsh opinion on leaving the European Union, the First Minister should turn to Mr Davies for advice.

The proposal produced an unusually swift -and blunt- rejection by the Welsh Government.

We don’t see any merit in this idea. The Welsh Government will work through the consequences of the vote in good faith in the interests of the people of Wales. The National Assembly for Wales is in the process of seeing up a new, more open and transparent Committee structure and the consequences of the Brexit vote will no doubt feature heavily on upcoming agendas.

– Welsh Government Spokesperson

Vote Leave says Tory leader should head Welsh response to Brexit

Former Welsh Secretary David Jones, who led the Vote Leave campaign in Wales, says Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood should both support making Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies the chair of a committee in charge of shaping Wales' response to the Brexit vote.

The result of the referendum highlighted just how out of step the First Minister and Leader of the opposition were with the people they represent on this issue.

That’s why I would urge the First Minister to be gracious in defeat, and establish an advisory committee of AMs to drive forward Wales’ response to the referendum result.

Andrew RT Davies could potentially be an ideal candidate to chair such a committee, having taking the brave step of backing the campaign to leave the EU, and I’m sure that he would have the support of other leave campaigners here in Wales – including those in UKIP who also played such an influential role in the campaign.

– Vote Leave Cymru Chair David Jones MP

David Jones says Mr Davies could complement "rather than seeking to usurp" the role of the Welsh Government. Meanwhile the First Minister has demanded assurances that the Leave campaign's promise to safeguard aid to Wales will be kept.

One of the most immediate concerns facing us as a government is the future of around half a billion pounds a year which Wales currently receives from the EU to support our farming industry and to bring greater prosperity to some of our most deprived communities.

During the referendum campaign, the Leave side made cast iron promises that this money would continue to come to Wales in the event of a vote to leave the EU. I have today written to the Prime Minister asking him to confirm that every penny of this funding is safe.

We require this funding assurance immediately, as there are hundreds of vital EU-funded projects right across Wales whose future is now in the balance unless that funding guarantee is given. Let me be absolutely clear. These projects are designed to improve people’s lives, their environment and the infrastructure they rely on every day, and we are proud of what they have already delivered. But if that pledge is not honoured by the UK Government, it will have a devastating effect on our budgets, already stretched through years of austerity, and facing billions more in cuts as a result. It will make the difficult decisions we already face even harder. So it is critical there is a positive response to my letter, and I will make it public as soon as receive it.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

The First Minister said that the Wel;sh Government would base a team of civil servants in Brussels to explore independently of the UK Government how Welsh priorities can be taken forward directly with the EU. He said he also expected Welsh Government participation in the UK Government’s Brexit negotiations.


Fresh attempt to settle rail electrification row

New Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb turns to one of the items at the top of his in-tray today -the row between the Welsh and UK governments over who pays for the electrification of the Valley lines. Ministers in Cardiff Bay say Mr Crabb's predecessors, Cheryl Gillan and David Jones, were quick to claim the credit for the giving the multi-million pound project the go ahead, so there's no way that the bill should be passed on.

Today Mr Crabb will hold talks with this cabinet colleague, the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin. The Transport Department argues that as the Welsh Government manages the Wales and Borders rail franchise, it should be responsible for repaying the cost. That would mean either funding a bigger subsidy or putting up the fares.

Only yesterday, the Prime Minister defended what he saw as a done deal but ITV news understands that there might at least be a concession over how quickly the money needs to be repaid. A senior Welsh Government source was also optimistic that the dispute could soon be settled.

Welsh Conservative AMs reinstated on the front bench

Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies has announced a re shuffle of the Shadow Cabinet. Four AMs as expected have been reinstated to the front bench.

Mohammad Ashgar is back in the post of Shaow Minister for Equalities and Sport. Janet Finch-Saunders has been restored to the role of Shadow Minister for Local Government

Nick Ramsay now is responsible for the Shadow brief of Finance. His previous portfolio was Business.

Antoinette Sandbach is now Shadow Minister for Environment. Her previous portfolio was Rural Affairs.The four lost their frontbench positions after defying the party whip on a vote

Political opponents pledge 'a new start'

During their first Commons encounter since the reshuffle, the new Welsh Secretary and his Labour shadow agreed to use the opportunity of the reshuffle to make 'a fresh start' in relations between Welsh and UK Governments.

We have an opportunity for a new start in the relationship between Wales and the Uk Government here at Westminster because I think it's true to say that many people in Wales have been disheartened by the level of acrimony between politicians in Wales and Westminster and perhaps even across this aisle.

– Owen Smith MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales

Let's use this opportunity to draw a line under all this and restore a much more constructive tone in our dialogue and work towards achieving positive things for people and businesses in Wales because that's what they're looking for.

– Stephen Crabb MP, Secretary of State for Wales

Welsh Secretary 'open-minded' about more devolution

The new Welsh Secretary, Stephen Crabb, says he's 'open-minded about how devolution develops.'

He made his comments during a meeting of the Welsh Grand committee when he was asked by Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards if he would consider altering the Wales Bill which ushers in some tax and borrowing powers.


  1. Adrian Masters

Crabb to make Welsh Grand Committee debut

Stephen Crabb will make his first appearance in the Commons today since becoming the new Welsh Secretary. He was promoted to the cabinet by David Cameron who sacked his predecessor, David Jones, on Monday.

There's been a warm welcome for Mr Crabb's appointment from across the political spectrum.

But there's no time to ease himself gently into the job because he has to speak for the Government during a day-long session of the Welsh Grand Committee.

The debate is nominally about the impact on Wales of the UK Government's legislative plans a set out in the Queen's Speech.

But you can bet Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs will seize the opportunity to challenge the new Welsh Secretary over his previous opposition to devolution and what he'll do to resolve a series of disputes with the Welsh Government.

  1. Adrian Masters

Sacked Tory AMs to be reinstated

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies will tomorrow reinstate the four AMs he sacked from his Shadow Cabinet in February. Antoinette Sandbach, Nick Ramsay, Janet Finch-Saunders and Mohammad Asghar were stripped of their rôles after defying the party whip during a Senedd vote.

All four will be given front bench jobs although not necessarily those they were doing before they were sacked. You can read the background to the story by clicking here.

What's changed? The group's dispute sprang from their leader's disagreement with the former Welsh Secretary David Jones. Now that he's been replaced by Stephen Crabb, both sides are looking to heal the breach.

Watch ITV's interview with the new Welsh Secretary

The new Welsh Secretary has was announced earlier as the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire Stephen Crabb.

His appointment came as David Jones lost his job yesterday - after just short of two years in the role.

It was part of a major reshuffle by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Our Political Editor Adrian Masters caught up with Stephen Crabb in Westminster this evening.

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