General election 2019: Welsh MP tells Tories to repay voters' faith

David Jones

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David Jones said there was a “huge amount of resentment” of Labour in north Wales

A senior Welsh Conservative MP says the party needs to “repay that faith” shown by voters in north Wales who helped Boris Johnson win a big majority.

David Jones said there was “a huge amount of resentment” in north Wales of a Labour Welsh Government which he claimed had not delivered for people.

The Clwyd West MP said the shared prosperity fund to replace EU grants should be run by Westminster.

Ex-Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley said the wrong priorities would be backed.

The Conservatives gained six seats from Labour in Thursday’s election, five of them in north Wales.

Mr Jones, a former Welsh secretary and Brexit minister, told Sunday Supplement on BBC Radio Wales voters in traditional Labour strongholds had turned their backs on the party.

“The poison of the coalmine closures and what happened in the immediate post-industrial period is now ebbing away,” he said.

“People in Wales look at Cardiff and see a remote Welsh Assembly Government that has not really delivered for them in north Wales. We see creaking road infrastructure, we see north Wales railways being populated by former London Underground trains, and we see a hospital board in crisis in special measures.”

“There’s a huge amount of resentment that they see, frankly, the benefit of devolution passing to south east Wales, and north Wales very remote and not really benefitting from it.

“Essentially now in the Welsh context, Labour is a south Wales party and the rest of the country of course has gone in a completely different direction.

“North Wales has put its faith in the Conservative party in this election, and we’ve got to make sure that we repay that faith.”

Mr Jones said priorities for the UK government should include making a success of the North Wales Growth Deal and improving the broadband network, so “people start seeing the benefits of voting for the Conservative party”.

He also stressed that cash from the proposed shared prosperity fund should be given directly to local councils, bypassing the Welsh Government which handles EU grant aid.

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Lord Wigley said a mid-term backlash against the Tories could benefit Plaid Cymru

Former Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley told the programme this worried him, saying: “Their priorities will be ones that suit them in the overall UK set up, not what suits the people of Wales.”

He said Plaid had “held its ground” by keeping its four MPs, and predicted that a mid-term backlash against the Tories could help his party take power in Wales at the 2021 Senedd election.

With Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price calling for a referendum on Welsh independence by 2030, Lord Wigley said it was possible the prime minister himself could offer such a poll as a tactic to save the United Kingdom.

“[Boris] Johnson could go for a referendum not just in Scotland but in Northern Ireland on the border, and possibly even looking to Wales to move towards a more confederal system for the United Kingdom,” he said.

“He would like to do that to take away the total break-up of the United Kingdom, which is going to happen unless he brings forward something very imaginative to the table.”

Analysing the results, Prof Roger Awan-Scully of Cardiff University told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Wales voters were “more volatile than they have ever been”, and that those who backed the Conservatives for the first time last week could turn against the party if it failed to deliver.

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House of Commons

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Anna McMorrin claimed new Tory MPs “are not going to be there” for people needing help

Meanwhile Labour MP Anna McMorrin, who kept her Cardiff North seat with an increased majority, called for a “complete renewal” of the Labour party, rejecting leader Jeremy Corbyn and his brand of socialism.

“In recent months and years we’ve lost good sensible people from the Labour party – I hope that now they’ll come back,” she told Sunday Supplement.

“We’ve now lost good hard-working Labour MPs who the electorate so desperately need,” Ms McMorrin added.

“I know, week to week, the amount of times that people come to me needing that help on benefits, on housing, on immigration, and I know that those Tory MPs are not going to be there for that electorate.”

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