Anger over EC Official's Snub to Welsh Tories; POLITICS: European Commission to Boycott Next Conservative Conference in Wales as a Result of Personal Dispute

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 9, 2001 | Go to article overview

Anger over EC Official's Snub to Welsh Tories; POLITICS: European Commission to Boycott Next Conservative Conference in Wales as a Result of Personal Dispute


Byline: NICK SPEED

THE EUROPEAN Commission plans to boycott the next Welsh Conservative conference after their senior official in Wales was allegedly abused by a party member.

Relations between the commission's representation in Cardiff and the Tories have been strained ever since a public row involving the head of the office, Catherine Eva, and prominent Welsh Tory Peter Davies at March's conference in Swansea.

But they hit a new low last night as Euro-MP Jonathan Evans expressed his unhappiness at the decision of the Commission's Welsh office not to attend next year's event.

Mr Evans said it would be "unacceptable" for the Commission to treat his party differently from the others, and he would ask the UK office to intervene in the dispute.

The row between Ms Eva and Mr Davies, the Tories' South Wales East area chairman, stems from remarks she made - supposedly intended to be light-hearted - about his son, Monmouth AM David Davies, at the Swansea gathering.

Although Ms Eva subsequently lodged a formal complaint against Mr Davies senior with the chairman of the Welsh party, Henri Lloyd Davies, he has decided not to instigate any disciplinary action, citing a lack of third party witnesses.

Believing that Ms Eva had slurred his son, Mr Davies senior filed his own complaint against the head of the Cardiff office to her employer, in which he alleged that she had broken its code of conduct, which demands political impartiality.

Mr Evans declined to be dragged into the dispute between the pair, but some senior party members are privately seeking action against Mr Davies.

And Jonathan Morgan, the South Wales Central AM who sits on the Assembly's European committee, has warned that the Commission's absence from his party's conference would leave it looking "like an outside fringe group".

Mr Morgan said, "It's an embarrassing position for the party to be in. …

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