Wales Election 2016

Tory AM: 'I would have resigned' had I been RT Davies

Nick Ramsay

A former challenger to Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said he would have resigned after the party's election result if he had been in charge.

Nick Ramsay said he is happy to back Mr Davies' leadership, but if it had been him he would have acted differently.

The party's 11 AMs met on Monday to discuss the Tories' disappointing assembly election performance.

A spokesman said the members had given Mr Davies "universal backing".

Party sources had raised concerns about Mr Davies's leadership after the party's group shrunk by three AMs at the 5 May election.

Image caption Andrew RT Davies has been Welsh Conservative leader since 2011

Mr Ramsay told BBC Wales: "Andrew wants to continue. I am more than happy to back his leadership. He has my support.

"But if it had been me I would have probably acted differently, I would have resigned."

'Focus must switch'

The AM for Monmouth had run against Mr Davies for the Welsh Conservative leadership in 2011.

He was sacked by Mr Davies in 2014, and later reinstated, from Mr Davies' frontbench team for rebelling against him in a vote on the devolution of income tax.

Prior to Mr Ramsay's comments, a Welsh Conservative spokesman had said: "Andrew RT Davies' leadership of the Welsh Conservatives was universally backed in a Welsh Conservative group meeting this afternoon.

"The focus must now switch to the big challenges facing the country in the weeks and months ahead, not least in helping to secure a future for the steel industry and holding the new Welsh Government to account."

Welsh Tory chairman Jonathan Evans has urged the party to focus now on June's EU referendum rather than who leads its group in Cardiff Bay.

On Sunday, Mr Evans told BBC Wales that party activists would be better off devoting the next five weeks to campaigning for the EU poll.

"None of us wants to see a situation... in which the Conservative Party in Wales spends that five-week period arguing about who is leading us in the assembly," he said.

Minority

The Conservatives made gains in every previous assembly poll and enjoyed a successful general election in 2015.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has said Labour is likely to seek to form a minority Welsh Government, after winning 29 of the 60 seats in the Senedd.

The new assembly is expected to meet for the first time on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Conservative AM David Melding has said he does not want to be the next presiding officer.

Mr Melding, who was deputy to Dame Rosemary Butler during the last five-year assembly term, said he was "at my best as one of life's lieutenants".

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