Welsh Secretary Linked To Plot To Oust Welsh Tory Leader

Andrew RT Davies resigned as leader of the Welsh Conservatives in June, saying that he had learned of a plot by remain backing party colleagues in Westminster to oust him. Davies cited a text that had accidentally been sent to him by the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns. At the time Cairns told BBC Daily Politics that:

“The text we’re talking about related to Mark Reckless and the wish in order to see him go after the local elections that were taking place at the time, not any other outcome.”

However, today the text has been revealed and clearly references the former leader of the Welsh Conservatives Nick Bourne, who now sits in the House of Lords. Mark Reckless (who had no involvement in Welsh politics before being elected as an Assembly Member in 2016) has released a statement confirming that he has “never had any dealings with Nick Bourne.”

This makes it hard for Cairns to go on claiming that the text was about ousting Reckless. If he has lied he would have to resign. Looks like Cairns has some serious questions to answer…

Alun Cairns’ Tippy-Toes Pose

It was always going to be a tall order for the pint-sized Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns to be photographed next to the statuesque Chris Grayling. The tippy toes made up the difference. Turns out Cairns is a regular on pointe:

Bless.

CCHQ Rows With Associations Over Female Candidates

CCHQ is embroiled in a number of nasty spats with Tory associations after imposing female candidates on seats across Wales. The Tories do not have a single female Welsh MP, something party chairman Patrick McLoughlin and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns are determined to change. In Bridgend, CCHQ has imposed Karen Robson on the association against its will. Robson is not from the local area (she moved to Wales after university and last ran for the Tories 20 miles away in Cardiff). This has infuriated local members, who passed a vote to reject the carpetbagger and choose a local candidate instead. One member says:

“The majority of members are up in arms as this is an outrage and tearing our Association apart in a target seat. It is hardly an example of strong and stable leadership in the national interest. This is immoral and treats all of us hard working volunteers who have been here through thick and thin with contempt.”

CCHQ has ignored them and pressed ahead with Robson as the candidate, in response some Bridgend Tory councillors are threatening to go independent…

The Tories have also imposed female candidates on associations in both Newport West and East. In Newport West, European Parliament bag-carrier Angela Jones-Evans has been imposed at the expense of the 2015 candidate and long-serving local member Nic Webb. In Newport East, CCHQ wants Natasha Asghar, the daughter of the local Tory assembly member. These associations are upset with Cairns, McLoughlin and CCHQ. Behind closed doors Cairns has insisted there has to be at least one female MP returned in Wales this election and imposing female candidates is the only way to guarantee that. As Guido’s (male) Welsh mole says: “We do need to have a female MP, but CCHQ has gone about this in an awful fashion…”

Peston: Can Guto Bebb Keep His Job?

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns did not offer any defence of his minister Guto Bebb’s comments on Scotland, comically just saying a string of incomprehensible words. Theresa May will need a better line that that when she visits Wales tomorrow…

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