BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Special Report: 1999: 02/99: Welsh Labour leadership contest  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Welsh Labour leadership contest Monday, 15 February, 1999, 17:22 GMT
Ron Davies makes defiant comeback
Ron Davies: "Tony Blair was not enthusiastic about devolution"
Disgraced former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies has warned the Labour Party not to think it can control Wales from London after devolution.

Welsh labour leadership contest
In a speech to the Institute of Welsh Affairs, Mr Davies said: "Let no-one think that now the devolution genie is out the bottle he can be forced back or that he won't want to flex his muscles.

"It must now be clear that on devolved matters there can be no policy over-ride by London over Cardiff."

Mr Davies' return to the political spotlight comes after he jettisoned both his Cabinet post and prospects of becoming Wales' first secretary after a still unexplained "moment of madness" on Clapham Common.

Now, for the first time, he has revealed the bitter struggle between himself and other sections of the Labour Party in the run up to the devolution referendum.

'Briefings against me'

In an interview with the BBC's Bethan Rhys Roberts for the Welsh current affairs magazine Barn, published later this month, Mr Davies spoke of "another agenda" being followed in Millbank.

"A whole range of briefings were going on against me by others in the Labour Party in London," he said.

The former Welsh secretary implied even Prime Minister Tony Blair was less than committed to the devolution process he inherited from the late John Smith.

"He wasn't enthusiastic," Mr Davies said. "He was trying to look at the UK picture and trying to see, is this going to be damaging, how are we going to make it work, will it be politically acceptable?"

Mr Davies recently won the backing of the Caerphilly and Cynon Valley Labour Party to contest the seat in the May elections.

He is now determined to win real power for the Welsh Assembly, which has been described as little more than a glorified parish council as it has no tax-varying or legislative powers.

Labour MPs aghast

But many Welsh Labour MPs are scathing about Mr Davies' remarks, believing his attempt at a comeback is both misjudged and premature.

They add that he has no chance of returning to high political office unless he comes clean about the events that led to his shock resignation.

The strong turnout for Mr Davies' lecture in Cardiff shows he retains a considerable grassroots following and could be instrumental in the direction of Welsh politics.

He told his audience: "Devolution is a process. It is not an event and neither is it a journey with a fixed end point.

"Just as we have devolved power to the assembly, so we must devolve party political power to Cardiff.

"In all matters relating to devolved functions, therefore, the decision-making authority should rest with the party in Wales.

"It would be an unacceptable contradiction for us to have facilitated the transfer of power to the people at large, but not to allow members to exercise parallel decision-making in respect of our own party."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Audio
Ron Davies: "Tony Blair has himself gone through a process"
Audio
Ron Davies: "There was another agenda - I was not part of discussions"
See also:

30 Jan 99 | UK Politics
15 Feb 99 | UK Politics
15 Feb 99 | UK Politics
15 Feb 99 | UK Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Welsh Labour leadership contest stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Welsh Labour leadership contest stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes