Welsh Devolution and the Conservative Party

Tomorrow, David Melding launches his new book "WILL BRITAIN SURVIVE BEYOND 2020?"

According to the Western Mail today, it looks like it will, at the very least, reignite the debate within the Conservative Party over devolution in Wales, especially given Cameron's acceptance of devolution in Scotland late last week (an announcement that was largely ignored by the Welsh press and commentariat).

I was particularly taken by the following statement:

"But I think where we went wrong was we should have spent more time in government thinking, how do we give legitimate help to those people within our United Kingdom who want to have a greater expression of self-government?"

Clearly, this is a challenge that should be taken up by the Conservative Party in Wales and David Melding has decided to step up to the plate with his views on this critical issue.

David is probably the most cerebral of all the Assembly Members and he will not have written this book without thinking long and hard about the consequences.

I made clear my views on devolution last year at the National Eisteddfod, and posted on it here. Indeed, as I said at the time

"Contrary to the nationalist viewpoint, the creation of a Welsh Parliament is a not a step towards independence but a move towards equality within a Union of Parliaments within the United Kingdom, a Union that would be strengthened by having a Welsh ’Senedd’ with full law-making powers. "

Given that statement, you will not be surprised to learn that I am broadly supportive of David's arguments.

Indeed, the case could be made for David Cameron, once he is Prime Minister with a sufficiently large majority, to push through legislation to grant further powers directly to the Assembly without a referendum as long as it was part of a greater constitutional reform of the United Kingdom which would include fewer MPs and a new 'English Parliament' at Westminster.

This would instantly solve the constitutional mess created by the Labour Party, kill stone dead the issue of 'independence' for a generation and allow the next Assembly election to be fought on policies that would actually help Wales get out of the mess it is in.

I am meeting David tonight to discuss our economic policies for the next Assembly election but I am sure our conversation will also touch on his book and its consequences for the Conservative Party in Wales.

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