Wales needs 'a dose of Dom' says Tory leader promising a Dominic Cummings-style shake up to Welsh government

Paul Davies is promising to shake-up devolution if he were to become First Minister Credit: PA

The Welsh Conservative leader is pledging a radical overhaul of the way that Wales is governed, saying that "a dose of Dom is needed for Wales."

The comments refer to the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his controversial restructuring of UK Government departments. 

Paul Davies makes his remarks in a ‘virtual speech’ - a video he’s sharing today with Conservative supporters here in Wales ahead of next year’s Senedd election.

In the speech he criticises "sluggishness" which he says ‘has been allowed to flourish in the Welsh Government, making "paralysis of delivery…the worst disease affecting public policy in Wales."

He pins the blame on Labour in general and Mark Drakeford in particular for being "at the heart of government for over twenty years." 

“With a single party state governing Wales for over twenty years,” he says, “there has been little appetite for change.”

Regardless of political colour the sluggishness of governments across the United Kingdom has been ignored for decades and for many people in Wales it feels as though this sluggishness has been allowed to flourish. 

Paul Davies MS, Welsh Conservative leader

Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, explained his movements during lockdown at a Downing Street briefing Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Speaking admiringly of Dominic Cummings' "desire to shake up the way government works" the Conservative leader goes on to say that "love him or loathe him I can see that a dose of Dom is needed for Wales. Maybe not literally, and I can’t see me asking Boris if I can pinch him for my special adviser team, but I can very much see a Welsh Conservative Government working closely with the Prime Minister and his team to learn about how to transform government, and how we ensure a delivery agenda. Wales needs change. Not just a change in government but a change throughout government."

The speech follows yesterday's reshuffle of the Welsh Conservatives' Senedd team and similarly is intended to position Mr Davies and his party ahead of next year's Senedd election.

And it's his latest effort to stamp his leadership as offering a sharper approach to the institutions of devolution while continuing to argue for its existence. 

In his conference speech in Llangollen earlier this year he said he would end the "gravy train" of Welsh politics by freezing the budget of the Senedd Commission for five years, refusing to increase the number of MSs, introducing a freeze on hiring civil servants and refusing to introduce new taxes.

It reflects perhaps the reassertion of an anti-devolution strand within his own party which has become increasingly vocal, including among its elected members and noticeably since the 2019 General Election. There have also been defections to the Abolish the Welsh Assembly party.

But Paul Davies' stance is that devolution isn't the cause of the problems facing Wales and his argument is that a radical Conservative government is the solution.