Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt 'no allies to Wales' as Tory leadership contest heads to Cardiff

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will take to the stage one after another and each be given chance separately to make their pitch. Credit: PA Images

The two men hoping to become the next Prime Minister will try to win over Welsh Conservative members as their party’s leadership tour rolls into Cardiff.

Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson will put their arguments to an audience of activists in the eleventh of sixteen hustings meetings. Voting in the contest is already underway now that ballot papers have been sent out to members.

They’ll take to the stage one after another and each be given chance separately to make their pitch to those whose votes they’re hoping to win. They’ll be interviewed by the chair, freelance broadcaster Hannah Vaughan-Jones, after which they’ll take questions from the audience.

Credit: PA Images

Brexit is likely to dominate those questions but as it’s the only hustings here they can expected to be asked about commitments to Wales.

Both men have promised to keep the way government spending is worked out for Wales and Scotland, known as ‘the Barnett Formula,’ despite Mr Johnson having criticised it in the past for giving too much money to Scotland. He was forced to make the u-turn after pressure from the Hunt campaign which made an early pledge to maintain the funding system.

Mr Johnson has promised to give himself the job of ‘Minister for the Union’ as well as Prime Minister if he takes over from Theresa May.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have been criticised by Plaid Cymru. Credit: PA Images

Ahead of their meeting, both men have been criticised by political opponents. Plaid Cymru’s parliamentary leader Liz Saville Roberts said neither were ‘allies to Wales’ and treated Wales as ‘at best an afterthought.’

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are no allies to Wales. This week alone, Mr Johnson has said Westminster is an English Parliament and seemed to forget the Welsh language exists.

The fact the Welsh Secretary and Tory leader in the Welsh Assembly have backed Mr Johnson is simply confirmation that they would like to keep their jobs, more than keep the jobs of their constituents which will be lost if Mr Johnson’s proposed approach to Brexit becomes a reality.

Wales is at best an afterthought and more than likely an irritation to Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt. We simply cannot trust them to protect and promote our national interest.

– Liz Saville Roberts MP, Plaid Cymru Parliamentary leader

Liz Saville Roberts added "the 'Tories tried to scupper devolution in the past. In the present they have cancelled investments from the tidal lagoon to rail electrification. And with the two men vying for the top job committed to deliver a hugely damaging Brexit, it seems like the Tories will continue their tradition of undermining Welsh interests well in to the future."

The hustings will take place in Cardiff this evening. The two candidates will go head to head for the first time on Tuesday when they take part in ITV’s televised debate in Manchester.