Wales politics

Devolution: I was up against a machine, David Hunt says

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Media captionI was up against a machine, says Lord Hunt on bid to get policing devolved

A former Tory Welsh secretary has told peers how his bid to have control of policing devolved in the early 1990s failed despite cabinet backing.

Lord David Hunt was giving evidence to a Lords committee on Brexit and how it might affect the power balance between Wales and Westminster.

He said the then Home Secretary Ken Clarke agreed to hand control of policing to the Welsh Office.

"I found I was up against a machine," Lord Hunt said, and it never happened.

He explained how, in the days before the Welsh Assembly, he had sought to secure more powers for the UK government's Welsh Office which he ran under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major from 1990 to 1993.

Despite his agreement with Mr Clarke, he said: "Nothing seemed to happen for six months.

"I chased Ken and he said 'oh sorry'."

Lord Hunt said there was an "almost automatic reflex action" to say "far better to leave it where it is".

On the matter of Brexit, he said the "new situation" created an opportunity to make Wales "an even more outward looking place".

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