Wales politics

Suzy Davies to stand for Welsh Tory assembly leader

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Media captionSuzy Davies says it is important there is a contest for the Welsh Tory leadership

Suzy Davies is to stand for the Welsh Conservative leadership in the National Assembly.

The South Wales West AM's decision has triggered a contest for the position, after Andrew RT Davies stood down.

Paul Davies, the interim leader, has also said he would like the job on a permanent basis.

Making her pitch, Ms Davies said it is important that the people of Wales are told "there is a genuine alternative to Welsh Labour government".

"The Welsh Labour party has been in charge in Wales for longer than Putin. That's not healthy for democracy," she said.

Ms Davies told BBC Wales it was important "that the Welsh Conservative grassroots have a contest".

"This is something I have been considering doing anyway, sometime in the future. As the opportunity has arisen now, I can't turn that down," she said.

Ms Davies indicated she may be willing to work with Plaid Cymru to remove Labour, saying it was "realistic" to expect the Welsh Conservatives to work with another party in the Senedd.

"This is a long haul if we just expect an individual party to do it," she said.

Image caption Suzy Davies faces Paul Davies in a ballot of members

Earlier in a statement she said: "I fully support Theresa May as our prime minister and as she works to make sure that Wales gets the type of Brexit that it voted for, however that does not mean I will shy away from speaking up for Wales in meetings with the prime minister and the rest of the UK government."

Ms Davies, who voted remain in the EU referendum of 2016, has been nominated by two Brexiteer AMs - Janet Finch-Saunders and Mark Isherwood.

David Melding, a Remainer and a former deputy presiding officer, has also nominated her.

Analysis by Daniel Davies, BBC Wales political correspondent

Image caption Suzy Davies is the second AM to declare their interest in the leadership

Now we know. Davies will face Davies in the battle to succeed Davies.

The candidates can't rely on their names to differentiate them. What about their politics?

Both were for Remain, but have Leavers on their side. And both say the party should back Theresa May on Brexit.

Both say they're ready to work with other parties to elbow Labour out of office.

It is difficult to imagine a big ideological divide opening up between Paul and Suzy.

Ms Davies is a former solicitor and was first elected to the assembly in 2011.

She is currently an assembly commissioner, representing the Tories on the body that runs the legislature.

Ms Davies has fronted the party's criticism of the Welsh Government's relationship with Pinewood, as well as the group's support of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Her decision follows calls within the Conservative Party for members to be given a say and for a coronation - a change of leadership without a vote - to be avoided.

Both Ms Finch-Saunders and Mr Isherwood - who have backed Ms Davies - had called for a contest.

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Image caption Andrew RT Davies resigned as Welsh Conservative assembly leader last week

Andrew RT Davies was himself elected to the position of leader after a poll of rank-and-file members in 2011.

Tory AMs need three other assembly members to support them before they can stand - meaning there can only be two candidates.

Nominations for the post close on 16 July. Postal votes are expected to be sent out on 15 August to members, with a declaration on 6 September.

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