Wales politics

Labour denies Owen Smith is blocking further devolution

David Cameron and Nick Clegg
Image caption 'Clearer, stronger, fairer': David Cameron and Nick Clegg offer a new devolution deal for Wales

Plans to devolve even more power to Wales are not being blocked by Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith, Labour has insisted.

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said Labour had "undermined" First Minister Carwyn Jones by not letting the St David's Day agreement go even further.

Lib Dem MP Jenny Willott understood Mr Smith was "less devolution-friendly than some of his colleagues".

Mr Smith dismissed claims of a rift with the first minister as "cobblers".

'Not happy'

On Friday David Cameron and Nick Clegg unveiled plans to give Wales more powers over energy, fracking and assembly elections.

Mr Davies told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme that other areas of agreement "were stopped by Labour because in London they weren't happy to allow that to go through".

"So really they have undermined Carwyn Jones here in Wales," he added.

Image caption The major parties all claim to be more supportive of devolution than their rivals

Ms Willott said: "There are plenty of things that we would like to see devolved... that basically Labour are not happy to sign up to.

"My understanding it's more Owen Smith that's less devolution-friendly than some of his colleagues."

Mr Smith, who was in France for Wales' Six Nations rugby match, said via Twitter that talk of a rift with the first minister over devolution was "cobblers".

Earlier, a Welsh Labour source said the claims were "utter nonsense" and that Labour proposals for devolution went further than those from the UK government.

"The whole St David's Day Agreement has become little more than political manoeuvring for the Lib Dems and Tories," the source said.

"It was supposed to be based on cross-party consensus but there was never any real agreement on key issues, not even between the Tories and Lib Dems.

"It's understandable that they are angry and looking for someone to blame, though maybe they should be looking closer to home."

Analysis by Nick Servini, BBC Wales political editor

No-one should be surprised that the fall out from the so-called St David's Day agreement has become so bitter so quickly.

This was Stephen Crabb's baby and, with two months to go until the general election, none of the other parties, least of all Labour, are going to want to say anything that makes the Welsh Secretary look good.

But the accusation against Labour is that while the first minister says Wales is not being treated with the same respect as Scotland, Welsh Labour's top man at Westminster - Owen Smith - is actually against devolving many of these powers.

Labour say that's nonsense, and on the issue of funding say they'll only support a deal when the Treasury comes up with the figures.

Ultimately it's about trust and there doesn't seem to be much of that around at the moment.

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