Tories need to ‘win confidence’ of voters after ‘challenging’ year – Davies

The Conservatives will need to “win the confidence” of Welsh voters ahead of an election after what has been a “challenging” year, the Welsh Tory leader has said.

But Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, insisted the party could still win an election if it projects what it “has to offer”.

Mr Davies was speaking at the Welsh Conservative Conference in Llandudno.

“But we are getting into the business end of the cycle and an election will be held within eight to nine months time.

“We have to project what we have to offer to win the confidence of the people of Wales.”

He said Sir Keir Starmer would replicate what Welsh Labour has done across the UK, leading to high NHS waiting list times and unpopular farming policies.

He also levelled criticism against the Welsh Labour government, particularly its plans to expand the number of members of the Senedd from 60 to 96.

The Labour government has said the change would allow for better scrutiny, but Mr Davies argued it is unnecessary.

File photo dated 20/09/06 of the Senedd, the Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff Bay. Voting begins on Friday for the two candidates vying to be the next first minister of Wales. Jeremy Miles, the current minister for education and Welsh language, and Vaughan Gething, the minister for the economy, are competing to see who will lead Welsh Labour, and the country, by mid-March. Issue date: Friday February 16, 2024.
Mr Davies also levelled criticism against the Welsh Labour government, particularly its plans to expand the number of members of the Senedd from 60 to 96 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“There are a lot of other things going on, I fully accept that, from constituency and casework that comes from that.

“But we can, by reforming the working week, be far more effective.

“The other thing about this proposal is it comes with a massive price tag, approximately £120 million. That’s the government’s own figure.”

He argued that money should be used to pay for extra nurses, doctors and teachers, “not more Mark Drakefords in Cardiff Bay”.

While he objected to the additional cost of the extra members of the Senedd, he dismissed the idea that it should be scrapped entirely, arguing it was something that “poll after poll” has indicated that the people of Wales support.

In his speech to the conference, Mr Davies also pledged to scrap 20mph default speed limits if his party got into power, calling the change “barmy”.

The Labour government rolled out the lower speed limit in September last year and insists it has already helped cut speed by 4mph on main roads in Wales.

It is hoped this will lead to fewer accidents.

Mr Davies said: “Labour wants to make Wales the place where common sense goes to die. And that is most clear when we look at Labour and Plaid’s barmy 20mph speed limits.

“This idea, dreamed up by lycra-clad lobbyists, has now become law in Wales.

“It’s common sense that outside schools and hospitals – 20mph should be the speed limit. But Labour and Plaid’s policy is extreme.

“They’ve admitted it’ll hit the Welsh economy by up to £9 billion. They’ve imposed it on Wales regardless.”

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