TORY CONFERENCE: More Devolution Will Cause Civil War `Father' of Royal Welsh Dies; AM Warns Party against `Petty Regionalism'

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), October 10, 2002 | Go to article overview

TORY CONFERENCE: More Devolution Will Cause Civil War `Father' of Royal Welsh Dies; AM Warns Party against `Petty Regionalism'


BRITAIN could be plunged into civil war if there is more devolution, a senior Welsh Tory warned yesterday. Monmouth AM David Davies told a fringe meeting organised by the rightwing Freedom Association any moves to set up elected assemblies in the English regions would create ``petty regionalism'' - sowing the seeds of conflict.

Mr Davies, the Tories' environment spokesman in the Welsh Assembly, also warned against the institution acquiring more powers.

His comments were in stark contrast to those of fellow Tory AM, David Melding, who earlier this week urged the Conservatives to join with Plaid Cymru in seeking more powers for Cardiff Bay.

Mr Davies told delegates at the Conservative party conference, Labour's plans to set up mini-Parliaments in the English regions could have disastrous consequences He claimed encouraging feelings of regional, rather than British, identity could tear the UK apart.

``When a country that is inhabited by many different groups that feel nothing but antipathy towards each other, strife and warfare are never far away. There is a strong LABOUR was accused yesterday of running scared over its internal divisions on devolution.

Party officials asked the independent Richard Commission - set up to investigate the powers of the Assembly - to postpone the deadline for submissions until after next May's elections.

That would allow the party time to consult its membership before delivering its views.

But Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones accused Labour of being deeply divided over the expansion of Assembly powers to law-making and tax-raising as in Scotland.

``This decision seriously undermines the credibility of the Commission when the very government that set it up is now delaying the process,'' Mr Jones said.

``The people of Wales clearly want a proper parliament. Labour is running scared.''

Welsh Liberal Democrats also claimed that its coalition partners in Labour ``ducked the chance'' to make its policy position clear.

It had persuaded the Richard Commission to put back the deadline for Labour's submission until July 15, two months after the May elections.

Welsh Lib-Dem president Rob Humphreys said: ``The inadequacy of the Assembly's powers is a difficult issue for Labour. …

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