Welsh Assembly: Whatever happened to the Tories being defenders of the Union?

The Conservatives made huge gains in Scotland by claiming steadfast opposition to independence, then voted for a pro-independence candidate for Welsh first minister


The Welsh Assembly failed to elect a first minister yesterday, as Labour’s Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru tied on 29 votes each. Both UKIP and Conservative AMs voted for Woods in order to block Jones’s reelection.

The recriminations between Labour and Plaid have already begun, with Labour accusing Plaid of ‘betraying voters’ for doing a deal with the right-wing parties.

Plaid maintains that it has not held formal discussions with the Conservatives or UKIP, while chairperson Rhuanedd Richards tweeted that ‘a party with no majority can’t presume to have a right to govern’.

But where are the Tories in all this? Is everyone too busy accusing Plaid of hypocrisy to recognise the massive inconsistency in the Tories’ election campaigns?

Last week, they became the second-largest party in Scotland last week by claiming to be the only party that could be trusted to defend the Union. This week, they have thrown their support behind a pro-Welsh independence party because it offers them a chance to undermine Labour.

Perhaps, as Nick Clegg recently suggested, the Tories’ commitment to the Union is less principled and more political than they claim.

Talks between Labour and Plaid Cymru will continue today. An assembly must be formed by first of June, otherwise another election will be called.

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