PLAID Cymru AM Delyth Jewell has dismissed plans by leader of the Welsh Conservatives group in the Senedd, Paul Davies, to end the Assembly “gravy train” as a “pathetic attempt at a populist play for power”.

Paul Davies was speaking during the Welsh Conservatives conference in Llangollen today.

Ms Jewell said that Mr Davies was being disingenuous and “completely hypocritical” – pointing out that under the Tories in Westminster the civil service had “increased” and that the Tories in the Senedd employ more family members “than any other party”.

Ms Jewell also rebuffed the suggestion by Mr Davies that he would be listening to those who wanted to get rid of the Senedd and pointed out that “endless polling” showed that people in Wales wanted “more powers, not less”.

The Plaid Cymru AM said the Conservatives were on the “wrong side of the argument” and branded the Conservative group leader as “weak”.

Plaid Cymru’s Delyth Jewell AM said,

“This is a pathetic attempt at a populist play for power from Paul Davies.

“Paul Davies doesn’t believe any of this stuff. In fact, he’s being completely hypocritical. Under the Tories in Westminster, the civil service has increased substantially and in the Senedd the Tories employ more family members than any other party. They don’t want to end the gravy train. They are the gravy train.

“Endless polling has shown that people in Wales want more powers, not less. The Tories will soon find out come May 2021 that they are on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of the argument.

“Paul Davies has shown today that he is nothing but a weak leader of a weak branch of a London based party. We can be rid of both his party and this useless Labour government in 2021 by voting Plaid Cymru.

In his at the annual conference, held in Llangollen, Paul Davies challenged what he called the ‘weak and failing Welsh Labour administration’, but delivered his plan to revitalise and radicalise the work of the Welsh Parliament.

He said:

“We have had devolution, now we need a revolution, from the inside of government.”

His speech tackled what he claimed was the north-south divide that has been opened up under Welsh Labour. He said: ‘By its attitude to areas of the north hit by the recent storms and floods Welsh Conservatives will deliver a fairer local government funding settlement, that serves north, mid and west Wales as well as Labour’s favoured cities in the south.’

Perhaps most radical, however, was his plan to tackle profligacy and waste within government.

He said:

“A Welsh Conservative Government will cut the cost of politics. We will seek to freeze the Assembly Commission’s budget for the full five-year term, and there will be no increase in the number of politicians in Wales under my leadership.”

Mr Davies added:

“I will reshape the government too. I will reduce the size of the Welsh Government from 14 ministers to a magnificent seven. A 50-percent saving on day one, and I will implement an immediate freeze on hiring more and more civil servants.”

His speech also included a further pledge to give the people of Wales a leaner, more efficient, and effective government.

Mr Davies spoke of creating an Office of Administrative Responsibility – similar to the Office of Budget Responsibility in England – that would have, as he said, “… a wide remit to look at every way that government works and ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent well”.

He said, too, that a Welsh Conservative government would implement a total Comprehensive Spending Review and eliminate waste, and he vowed that – when he becomes First Minister – he will “… do everything I can to get your taxes down”, vowing:

“And let me make one thing absolutely clear: there will be no new taxes under my Welsh Government.”

Before calling on all residents in Wales to back him as Boris Johnson was backed in the 2019 General Election, he said:

“We need bold decisive leadership in both London and Cardiff Bay for Wales to move forward. With me as your First Minister and Boris as your Prime Minister we will deliver for Wales.

“And you will have a government that rewards your hard work, delivers a bold agenda, leaves no one and no community behind, because together, we can unleash Wales’ potential.”

Speaking later, Mr Davies said:

“The reaction from the audience here was clear: they want the NHS to be effective and well funded. They want better education for their children. They want no more taxes. They want all parts of Wales to be treated fairly, not just the Cardiff Bay Bubble and the M4 Corridor. They want business – at all levels – to thrive.

“Their applause gave a clear message: they want change, and a Welsh Conservative Government will deliver it.”

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