Cairns offers 'real parliament for Wales'

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns
Image caption 'A real parliament for Wales' - Alun Cairns's offer to the Welsh government

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns was among the first formally to congratulate First Minister Carwyn Jones on Labour's success in Wales.

In a statement, Mr Cairns said he believed the new Welsh Government should have "five clear priorities" in co-operating with Westminster.

These are the steel industry, unlocking the potential of north Wales (the so-called "northern powerhouse"), M4 improvements, the EU referendum and the next stage of devolution.

On the EU, he said: "We need to unite across the political divide and explain our common belief that Wales will prosper by staying within a reformed European Union.

"The UK government's leaflet which will shortly be distributed to every home in Wales sets out our case for this. We need to shelve party politics to ensure Welsh voters make an informed choice."

Shelving party politics might be easier than uniting the Welsh Conservatives on the issue: Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies has announced that he will vote to leave the UK, the fifth of eight Welsh Tory backbench MPs to support "Brexit". Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies is also in the "leave" camp.

On devolution, Mr Cairns suggested: "taking advantage of the opportunities offered in the forthcoming Wales Bill to deliver a real parliament for Wales, with greater powers and a government responsible for raising as well as spending money".

His predecessor, Stephen Crabb, pressed the pause button on that Bill two months ago amid little sign of cross-party consensus.

Mr Cairns added: "Welsh politics has been characterised too often by tribalism and opposition for opposition's sake at either end of the M4. It's time for a new spirit of pragmatism.

"As Wales advances to the next stage of devolution, my message to the new Welsh Government is that we put aside political differences and get on with the big job of delivering projects that will really benefit people's lives. If we can, then the Welsh people will be the real winners of this election."

"Pragmatism" may not be the most energising call to arms but Mr Cairns intends it to be the theme of his time at the Wales Office.

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