Wales politics

Labour has no divine right to rule Wales, says Davies

Andrew RT Davies

Labour has been "ploughing on as if they have a divine right to rule" in Wales, the Welsh Conservative leader has said.

Speaking to Huw Edwards on The Wales Report, Andrew RT Davies defended his party from criticism that it simply opposes Labour policies rather than putting forward its own programme for government.

"At every juncture we bring forward an alternative, we don't just criticise," he said.

"There is a clear agenda for what the Welsh Conservatives stand for, and it's action.

"It's action to improve the economy, it's action to improve public services in Wales and it's action to strengthen communities the length and breadth of Wales."

Asked about his priority if the Tories won power after the assembly election in May, Mr Davies said: "The first spending commitment is protecting the NHS budget for the lifetime of this parliament, or the assembly's term, the five years.

"I would suggest that the outcomes in Wales regrettably aren't as good as we want them to be.

"And we want to make sure those outcomes are improved.

"That's why we've called for an independent Keogh-style enquiry into the NHS here in Wales so we can make those improvements, not on political whims, but led by clinicians themselves telling us what we need to be doing to improve the health service here in Wales."

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh investigated 14 NHS trusts in England for a review into higher-than-expected hospital death rates, published in 2013.

'Huge credit'

Speaking about the Wales Bill on further devolution, the Welsh Conservative leader praised Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb's handling of the legislation, put on hold on Monday after MPs called for a re-think.

It followed claims that the draft bill was confusing, and would leave Welsh ministers with fewer powers rather than more.

Mr Davies said: "The secretary of state deserves huge credit; for instead of ploughing on with this bill, actually saying 'I've listened to what people have said to me'.

"Actually, the Welsh Labour government could learn a lot from this legislative process."

First Minister Carwyn Jones had called Monday's announcement on the Wales Bill an "avoidable delay to clear up an avoidable mess".

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