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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 14:56 GMT
Wales@Westminster newslog

The Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life

Tuesday, 31 October

Bringing down the house?

posted by David | 1450 BST |

Plaid Cymru have only three MPs but they hope to punch above their weight and inflict what would be a severely damaging defeat on Tony Blair in the Commons tonight.

The party hope enough Labour rebels will join them to force through an inquiry into the war in Iraq and its aftermath. In theory, there are enough anti-war Labour MPs to deprive the UK Government of its majority.

Plaid Cymru's prospects depend on them winning the support of not only Labour anti-war rebels but also that of Conservative MPs who voted in favour of war.

There are some Labour MPs opposed to the war who would do almost anything to bring down Tony Blair - short of voting in the same division lobby as the Welsh and Scottish nationalists.

Rebellions are less common on motions tabled by opposition parties, so Plaid face a substantial challenge if they are to defeat the government and bring down the prime minister.

Plaid Cymru rarely get to choose what parliament debates, so it's surprising their parliamentary leader won't be joining them in their attempt to force out Mr Blair. Elfyn Llwyd has a long-scheduled meeting with a government minister in Madrid, so won't be at Westminster tonight.

His two parliamentary colleagues are understood to be rather less than impressed with his absence. If Plaid Cymru lose tonight's vote by one, then expect talk of regime change closer to home.

To the tower!

posted by David | 1035 BST |

David Davies may have been elected to both parliament and the Welsh assembly but his attempt at an electoral hat-trick has suffered a setback.

Mr Davies, MP and AM for Monmouth, put himself forward as a candidate for one of three seats for MPs on the party's ruling board. His campaign did not meet universal success.

The Mail on Sunday reveals that former defence minister Nicholas Soames replied rather pithily to Mr Davies's appeal for support.

"Dear David," he wrote "A madman pretending to be you is writing letters in your name asking to vote you on to the Conservative board, a clearly preposterous notion. Yours, Soames."

Mr Davies is slightly mystified by the put-down as he believes he has had only one very brief conversation with Mr Soames during their shared time in parliament.

Mr Soames, a grandson of Winston Churchill, previously hit the headlines after winning legitimate exemption from inheritance tax on a rather splendid piece of furniture by agreeing to offer public access to it.

Comedian Mark Thomas invented a "national Soames day" on which members of the public would simultaneously demand access to the furniture.

Mr Davies has now been joking to friends that he's likely to be first in the queue outside Soames Towers on the next "national Soames day".

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