Wales politics

'Orchestrated campaign' ousted Conservative AM

William Graham Image copyright William Graham

A Tory AM effectively de-selected by the party has said he was the victim of an "orchestrated campaign".

William Graham dropped from first to fifth place in a party members' ballot for the South Wales East regional list for the 2016 assembly election.

He said he had "upset too many people" by being pro-devolution and backing projects such as an M4 relief road.

Mr Graham told BBC Wales that Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies was "intrigued" by the result.


Speaking on Good Morning Wales, Mr Graham said he was "a victim of a bit of an orchestrated campaign, to come from first to fifth this time".

"I suppose I've done pretty well to survive the last four elections.

"I think also that I've upset too many people in my party."

Mr Graham said he had campaigned against creating a Welsh assembly in the 1979 and 1997 referendums, but Conservatives were "pragmatic".

"I've certainly come to passionately believe in devolution now [as] the only real way to save the United Kingdom, so that upset the right.

"And on the left, I suppose my championing of many of the infrastructure projects - particularly the motorway solution to the M4, I'm very keen on the circuit of Wales in Ebbw Vale, electrification and the metro - hasn't exactly made me a favourite with the left."

In February, Mr Graham was one of three Conservative AMs "spoken to" by their leader following an argument on Twitter about the party's M4 policy.

Image caption Mohammad Asghar is now top of the Tory list of candidates in South Wales East

Asked if he would remain in the Conservative Party, Mr Graham replied "you bet", saying he would be out canvassing for the Tories on Saturday morning.

The other sitting Tory AM in South Wales East, Mohammad Asghar, topped the poll, with Laura Anne Jones coming second on the list.

She was previously an AM between 2003-07.

The 60 AMs in Cardiff Bay include 20 elected via regional lists, aimed to give a fairer reflection of support for each party.

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