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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 March 2007, 11:00 GMT
Wales@Westminster newslog

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

Tuesday, 06 March

Tory boys and choppers

posted by David | 1105 BST |

David Cameron has said he will change the way the Conservative Party "looks, feels, thinks and behaves". So how is he getting on?

Tory conferences are still one of the few events where I feel young, amid the grey hair and the pensioners in hats, but there were more younger faces than usual at the Welsh party gathering in Cardiff at the weekend.

Changing the way the party looks also means making it less male, something Mr Cameron has tried to do by ensuring more women are selected as candidates.

Last year, the party announced in a statement: "Welsh Conservatives are determined to ensure this is reflected in Wales as the party selects candidates for next year's assembly poll."

It also said: "The party is seeking to broaden its representation starting with selections for next year's National Assembly elections."

So how are they getting on? Of 40 candidates chosen for individual constituencies, nine are women, although none is fighting a seat won by the Tories during the last decade.

Of the candidates for 20 seats on regional lists, only one woman appears in the top two names on any of the five lists. All the selected candidates have one thing in common - a white face. All political parties have struggled to put forward candidates more representative of today's multi-racial Wales.

The Tories insist that the assembly selection process was already under way before Mr Cameron was elected, and that perhaps we should wait for parliamentary selections in Wales to see a difference.

David Cameron's Tories do behave differently. The environment has a higher priority, with Welsh assembly group leader Nick Bourne calling for individuals and countries to change their behaviour.

Twenty four hours later Mr Cameron arrived to reinforce the "vote blue, go green" message before leaving in the helicopter he'd arrived in.

The Tories say the pollution caused by their conference is off-set, although there's a debate to be had about whether carbon off-setting neutralises the problem rather than tackles it.


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