'We'll defund what's not devolved' promises Welsh Conservative leader

The Conservatives say they'd 'defund' Welsh Government activities in areas which aren't devolved like international relations.

The party's leader in the Senedd has published a blog post calling for an end to "pretence" that devolved governments have more power than they do and promising that he "won't be treading on Westminster's turf."

It's the latest highly critical attack from Paul Davies on the way that devolution operates under Welsh Labour and is part of a longer term strategy to position his party as the spokespeople for those who are sceptical about the Senedd at the very least or who want to abolish it altogether.

He's previously said that Welsh political life could do with "a dose of Dom", referring to the Prime Minister's chief adviser Dominic Cummings and his critical approach to the civil service.

And in a 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.

Paul Davies promised that he wouldn't "tread on Westminster's turf." Credit: PA Images

In a post published on the Gwydir blog ahead of his party's UK conference Paul Davies acknowledges that the UK Government's controversial Internal Market Bill will change devolution but denies that's a "power grab" as its opponents say.

“Devolution won’t be ending with the Internal Market Bill. And neither will it be ending with the election of a Welsh Conservative Government.

“But it will be changing. There will be clear lines set out on which government exercises control over which policy area. Those things that are devolved will be managed by my government, and those things which are not devolved will be managed by Boris’.

Those things that are devolved will be managed by my government, and those things which are not devolved will be managed by Boris

Paul Davies MS, Welsh Conservative Senedd leader

“A respect agenda will be reinstated between the two governments and it will be adhered to by both sides. And that, of course, means that my Welsh Government won’t be treading on Westminster’s turf either.

“Within the first year of a Welsh Conservative Government we will conduct a root and branch examination of where Labour has been pretending it has devolved competence when it does not. And we will defund and end the pretence.”

For instance he says there'll be no Minister for International Relations if he were to become First Minister.

"International relations is not devolved, it never has been, and under my watch Welsh ministers will stop pretending they have powers they do not.

“A Welsh Conservative Government will also be binning the bodies created to advise on criminal justice. My Welsh Government will stop its interference in the asylum system because immigration and asylum are completely non devolved. We will stop the pretence that the Welsh Government has a Home Office. It does not."