Proud Brexiteer, Andrew RT Davies, was suddenly forced to resign last week with ‘deep regret.’ Party sources close to the BBC claimed Davies’ departure was part of ‘an orchestrated plot from both ends of the M4’, and warned of ‘dark times ahead for Brexiteers’.
Former Member of Parliament and current Assembly Member representing South Wales East, Mark Reckless, took to Twitter to say ‘Awful that Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies has been pushed out by Remainers for backing Brexit. Such a decent man.’ Even ardent Labour Remainer Owen Smith MP, labelled Davies ‘the first casualty in the Tory Brexit war.’
The former Wales Conservative leader was recently criticised by some, for his comments about Airbus, when he said they were undermining the Government’s Brexit negotiating position, accusing them of ‘hyperbole.‘ Obviously Davies was correct, especially considering the tens of billions of dollars’ worth of illegal subsidies given to Airbus by the EU, according to findings from the World Trade Organisation.
Welsh Conservative MP, Gutto Bebb, joined a chorus of moaning Remainers when he labelled Davies’ statements ‘inflammatory’. It is quite amazing Bebb was so keen to stick the knife into someone from his own party. In any other period, such a move would be unheard of, yet Brexit has, for some Remainers, become more important than party loyalty. North Wales AM, Janet Finch-Saunders, described Bebb’s open criticism of Davies as ‘shenanigans’. Quite right!
UKIP AM, Neil Hamilton, noted Davies was a proud Brexiteer amongst a Tory group of dedicated Remainers. It will come as no surprise then, the expected replacement for Andrew Davies is a Remainer, Paul Davies AM (no relation.) Paul Davies has already been inserted as interim.
Former Minister of State to the Department for Exiting the European Union, David Jones MP and David Davies MP are both clearly aware of the possible agenda behind Andrew RT Davies’ departure and have called for the next leader to represent grassroots members’ Eurosceptic views. Jones, seemed surprised at this sudden departure, noting the ‘good job’ done by Davies. David Davies took to Twitter and went even further to say Andrew RT Davies ‘has been a brilliant leader in Wales’.
Chris Davies MP tried to quieten concerns of foul-play by noting that Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt had made comments similar to those of the former Wales Conservatives Leader last weekend – without punishment. If Hunt wasn’t punished for it, Davies wasn’t sacked for it, so the argument goes. This doesn’t hold up, for the simple reason Prime Minister Theresa May seems potentially too weak politically to fire anyone in the Cabinet – even if she wanted to.
It seems likely a power struggle is in place, with many still supporting the recently removed Leader. Welsh AM’s like Mark Isherwood, are fighting back and have even claimed Andrew RT Davies should be allowed to run again if he wants his job back.
It is a shame it needs to be reaffirmed here that the Great people of Wales proudly voted to Get Britain Out. Welsh Conservatives will be utterly dismayed if a ‘coronation’ of the Remainer interim takes place to make the position permanent. There is no good reason for Andrew RT Davies to have been forced out. Foul-play must be the prime suspect. Leavers – including Andrew RT Davies – must be allowed to run on the ballot. The Welsh Conservatives deserve a Leader who truly represents the views of their members. This, is supposedly representative democracy after all.
Joshua King is a Research Executive at grassroots, cross-party campaign Get Britain Out