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Between Builth and the Bay

Betsan Powys | 13:48 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010

On Facebook last week the Conservatives' Health spokesman had this to say after an interview about the party's policy of ring-fencing health spending:

"Interesting interview i think, and a chance to talk about our policy to protect the health budget. This is about priorities and we should be judged on that. Even Betsan Powys referred to it as a "perfectly tenable" policy position... It will be a matter for the public's judgement in the coming months and i'm certainly looking forward to taking the debate forward because we can deliver some fantastic improvements in the delivery of healthcare in Wales - it's not just about the money, its about ideas too".

This morning he reveals that resigning as health spokesman "is something that I have considered for some time now".

What a difference a week makes.

If you're interested, the "perfectly tenable" quote is entirely accurate and it's from this blog entry.

UPDATE 13.45

I spoke to Andrew R T Davies just as his committee meeting in Builth Wells broke up - not the sort of man to switch off his phone and leave others to do the explaining for him.

His resignation, he says, "is what it says on the tin" - in other words he's off to fight the good fight in South Wales Central and had been thinking of leaving the front bench for a while.

But he's at the top of the Tory list in SWC - why the need to resign? He wants to make sure there's a strong Conservative voice on the ground for the people of South Wales Central.

But while he's in Builth Wells, in the Bay the briefers are out, and their line is very simple - he resigned purely out of anger that he wasn't given the chairmanship of the Health Committee. No more, no less. No policy splits, no leadership manouverings.

"He's an excellent AM but he's prone to doing things on the spur of the moment which he later regrets - and this is one of those occasions" says the source.

Over to you, Mr Davies? "Rubbish" is the pithy retort from Builth. Jonathan Morgan will make "an excellent chairman". Would he have still have resigned even had he been offered the chairmanship? "I wasn't offered it".

Is this a sign of splits within the group on health policy? "There isn't a Rizla paper between me and any of my colleagues on policy issues."

Oh to be a fly on the wall of the Tory group meeting tomorrow morning.

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