Wales politics

Tory will lead Welsh affairs select committee

David Davies MP
Image caption Monmouth MP David Davies has thrown his hat into the ring

An influential group of Welsh MPs is to be headed by a Conservative for the first time.

It brings to an end 31 years of Labour chairmen of the Welsh affairs select committee.

Labour MPs have held the job from Leo Abse in 1979 to Hywel Francis, who chaired it in the last parliament.

The Tory MP for Monmouth, David Davies, has said that he hopes to be elected to the post.

Even when the Conservatives had their largest number of Welsh MPs, 14 in 1983, the Tories did not take over the role.

New rules mean the job will be voted on by a secret ballot of all MPs, whereas previously it was appointed by the parties' leaderships.

Ministerial experience

However, the parties have agreed that the committee will be led by a Conservative MP. The ballot will be held in two weeks.

While the Conservatives now have eight of the 40 seats in Wales following the general election earlier this month, Labour have 26.

In 2005, the Tories held only three seats. Of those, Stephen Crabb, the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, and David Jones, the Clwyd West MP, have already ruled themselves out of the job of chairing the committee because they have positions in the government.

Monmouth's Mr Davies said he really wanted the job and he would get the committee to look at issues which he thought were important to Wales.

The new Cardiff North MP, Jonathan Evans, has previous ministerial experience and was an MEP for Wales until last year, but has ruled himself out.

One of the new intake could also stand as chair, two of whom have experience as AMs.

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