Cameron on Wales unplugged

Here's a transcript of a (three minute) interview I did with the prime minister to coincide with the Conservative conference in Birmingham. The video is also above.

He confirms Cheryl Gillan's account of her dismissal as secretary of state for Wales, defends the increase in the number of Wales Office ministers and gives a timely boost to Andrew RT Davies's campaign to become leader of the Welsh Conservative Party. He also insists he will push ahead with changes to parliamentary boundaries despite the Tories selecting candidates in existing constituencies.

DAVID CORNOCK: Prime Minister, Cheryl Gillan, what did she do wrong? Was she just not Welsh enough?

PRIME MINISTER: No, she did an excellent job, not just as Secretary of State for Wales for almost two and half years but also in the shadow job for many, many years. But I believe the time was right to have a Welsh Member of Parliament as the Secretary of State with a constituency in Wales, and David Jones is also a Welsh speaker and excellently qualified for the job and he will take that agenda forward.

But don't underestimate all the things Cheryl and, I think, the government have achieved for the people of Wales. The pledge to electrify the line all the way up to Swansea and the valley lines; I think that is a very big breakthrough that previous governments have talked about but never delivered. So, she did a great job but I think now it is right to have a Welsh MP with a Welsh constituency at the heart of the Cabinet.

DAVID CORNOCK: The Wales office changes mean that you now have three ministers in the Wales office, one more than Labour, as many ministers now as you actually had before devolution when you were actually running things like health and education. I thought you were a party of 'small government'?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I want to make sure that Wales has got a strong voice at the heart of government. I think this is very important. Yes, there is devolution and it is right we make that work, but Wales also benefits from making sure that the Foreign Office is standing up for Wales, that we are helping sell Welsh goods around the world, that we are taking into account all of Wales' needs. One of the ministers is obviously a whip and a minister so he is not double paid; so it is good value for money, but they will all work very hard.

DAVID CORNOCK: Looking at the Welsh Conservatives in the National Assembly, the leader of the group there says he wants to be known as the leader of the Welsh Conservative Party to give him that enhanced status. Would you be happy with that?

PRIME MINISTER: Yes, I am very happy with that. He has got a mandate and it is very important that Conservatives in Wales know that they have got a leader who sits in the Assembly, who is standing up for the Conservative Party in Wales and I am very happy for that.

DAVID CORNOCK: Boundary changes: a year ago you were worried about blue-on-blue action, presumably that is not going to happen now because the plans to cut the number of Welsh MPs by a quarter are just not going to go through. Nick Clegg has blocked them.

PRIME MINISTER:What we know is that the vote on the boundaries is going to come before the House of Commons and I will be urging every MP from all parties to back it. Why? Because I think it is right that as we make cost reductions elsewhere we cut the cost of politics. Frankly, I think 600 MPs is quite enough and also I think it is fair that every seat should have the same number of voters in it. That is something that is not rocket science; it is a very simple, democratic and legitimate demand. So I will be urging people to vote for that legislation.