No slot for Welsh Tory leader at conference clouded by Brexit chaos

Welsh Conservatives are joining fellow party members in Manchester for an unusual party conference in the most unusual of political circumstances.

They're meeting with parliament still stuck over Brexit and Boris Johnson seemingly unable to take any of the actions he says are needed to unstick it, such as a General Election.

He's also been found by the Supreme Court to have unlawfully suspended or prorogued parliament; he faces howls of protest at his use of language and his apparent dismissal of concerns about death threats against politicians and is also being investigated over his relationship with an entrepreneur during his time as London mayor.

What's more MPs refused to grant a short Commons break so there's every chance this conference might be cut short, particularly if his opponents table a no-confidence motion.

In all this chaos, there's not much chance for Welsh Conservatives to have their voices heard. Even less so because, as I write this, there is no slot for the elected Welsh Tory leader, Paul Davies, to address conference, although the Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns, will be speaking on Wednesday.

What Paul Davies would say, given the opportunity, is that he backs Boris Johnson's efforts to break through the Brexit crisis in order to get onto other matters.

Speaking as the conference got underway, the Welsh leader said,

His lack of a speaking slot reflects ongoing arguments within the party about the status of the position he occupies.

David Cameron told me that he saw the then leader Andrew RT Davies as leader of the wider Conservative party in Wales while last year Theresa May said that the newly-elected Paul Davies was the Assembly group leader.

I'll make it three Prime Ministers that I've asked that question of when I speak to Boris Johnson in my conference interview.

I know it's not the biggest problem facing anyone in politics and of course I'll ask about more important issues but I don't apologise for persisting with this question because, whatever they say in public, I know that in private it is a real debate and does worry some Welsh Tories.

What's more, when he was elected, Paul Davies said it would be something he'd seek to resolve.

As I mentioned earlier, while this conference takes place in Manchester, MPs will continue to sit in parliament. It's thought they'll stick to relatively uncontroversial matters on Monday and Tuesday but senior Conservatives fear an ambush by opposition parties.

Those opposition party leaders are meeting tomorrow (Monday) to discuss tactics.

Plaid Cymru's parliamentary leader Liz Saville Roberts has revealed that they're considering a range of measures which could include Plaid's impeachment plan against the Prime Minister or trying to find a way to suspend him from parliament or cut his salary in response to the Supreme Court ruling.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Liz Saville Roberts said,