Doubt Cast on Tories' Belief in Devolution

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

Doubt Cast on Tories' Belief in Devolution


Byline: By MARTIN SHIPTON Western Mail

The commitment of Welsh Conservatives to the National Assembly has been questioned after it emerged two of the party's senior figures helped campaign against a regional assembly for the north-east of England.

A Tory insider told the Western Mail, 'There is clearly some disagreement between Assembly group leader Nick Bourne and Wales Euro MP Jonathan Evans, which became apparent during a meeting of the party's policy forum in Cardiff last weekend.

'What does it say about the Welsh party's attitude to the Welsh Assembly when its Euro MP backs the North-East No campaign?'

Mr Evans, who leads the Tory MEPs, said, 'During the policy forum meeting, Nick Bourne was asked about the north-east referendum result and said it was a matter entirely for the north-east and that Welsh Conservatives had not been involved and had nothing to do with it.

'Later in the day, during another session, I said I had to correct what Nick had said on two counts.

'Firstly, I told the policy forum that Lyndon Jones [who works for Mr Evans and is also Deputy Chairman of the Welsh Conservatives] had been asked by the No campaign in the north-east to advise them about the lessons of the 1997 referendum No campaign in Wales.

'Secondly, I said that during three or four visits to the north- east I had responded to claims made by Rhodri Morgan during his visits there that everything at the Welsh Assembly was wonderful. …

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