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Welsh Tories lack clear leadership, says Andrew RT Davies

media captionAndrew RT Davies is widely referred to as the leader of the Welsh Conservatives but his authority does not extend beyond the assembly Tory group

The Welsh Tories need a designated leader that can make key decisions for the party, Andrew RT Davies has said.

Mr Davies is widely known as Welsh Conservative leader but his authority does not extend beyond the assembly Tory group, under party rules.

Speaking on BBC One's Sunday Politics Wales, the AM admitted the Welsh party lacked clear leadership.

The Tories lost three seats in Wales at the general election, leaving them with eight.

It lost both of the seats it gained at the 2015 general election from Labour - Gower and the Vale of Clwyd - and also lost Cardiff North.

When it was put to him that there was a lack of clear leadership in the Tory campaign in Wales, Mr Davies said: "I agree with you entirely.

"We have a very strong distinct Welsh Conservative brand, but we do need to be able to make key political decisions here in Wales and have a designated leader here in Wales, similar to what Labour formalised back in March. I readily acknowledge that.

"I lead on devolution, on secretary of state aspects such as Westminster, obviously the secretary of state leads then. The chairman of the voluntary party obviously leads on the voluntary party... That cannot continue."

Mr Davies said he thought Scotland "had a very good model which has shown to be successful".

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image captionRuth Davidson leads the Scottish Conservatives, who won a haul of 12 extra seats at the June poll

There, Ruth Davidson led a separate campaign to the Conservatives in England and Wales, largely focused and opposed to the SNP's calls for a second independence referendum.

The party gained 12 seats in Scotland, finishing with 13.

"There is a deficiency in the ability to make those key decisions from a party perspective and I do acknowledge that," said Mr Davies.

But, he added: "Let's not forget, there's a huge job of work to be done as we go forward as a country. The Conservative Party is the largest party in Westminster and its incumbent we form a government."

The Welsh Conservative campaign was marred by a row over who was meant to have represented the party in the BBC Wales Leaders' Debate.

Neither Mr Davies or Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns took part - with senior AM Darren Millar taking the podium instead.

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