Wales politics

Cheryl Gillan 'irritation' at Conservative Welsh leader proposal

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan is "irritated" by a proposal to change the title of the leader of the Conservative group in the Welsh assembly.

Mrs Gillan believes the move - which would see Andrew RT Davies become "leader of the Welsh Conservatives" - is a distraction, BBC Wales was told.

She shared her "irritation" with Mr Davies in a telephone call on Wednesday.

Mr Davies has said the idea is "being discussed" within the party.

He is leader of the Conservative group in Cardiff Bay, but Tory AMs frequently stress that David Cameron is the party leader.

The new Conservative and Unionist Party of Northern Ireland is to have its own leader.

A UK government source said Mrs Gillan believes leadership changes would distract the Tories from focusing on forthcoming council elections and holding the Welsh government to account.

It emerged on Tuesday that Conservatives are considering the change.

Mr Davies told reporters: "Is there a need for a political leader here in Wales that obviously can speak on devolved aspects of politics and policy, while retaining the overall leadership of the prime minister, because we are proud to be a Unionist party."

"We have been on a journey for five or six years in Wales, creating a strong Welsh brand," Mr Davies said.

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