Wales politics

David TC Davies: Wales Office ministers 'should come from Wales'

David TC Davies
Image caption David TC Davies says not appointing a Welsh MP as a junior minister in the Wales Office is "missing an opportunity"

The UK government should stop recruiting English MPs to ministerial roles in the Wales Office if Welsh MPs are unsuitable, a Welsh Tory MP says.

Kevin Foster, an MP for the English seat of Torbay who has two other jobs, will stay as a Wales office minister in Boris Johnson's new government.

David TC Davies, who wanted the job, said the candidate "should ideally come from Wales".

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said being "passionate" was what mattered.

The Llanelli-born newly appointed Lord Chancellor told BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement: "I'm a Welshman representing an English seat - does that make me feel not entitled to be here in England? No it doesn't.

"As long as people are passionate and inspired and want to fight for Wales, I don't really care where they are from."

A source told BBC Wales Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns had been in touch with Mr Davies on Friday, and told him it was the decision of the chief whip Mark Spencer.

"It's the Welsh Office, not the Welsh and English Office," Mr Davies told BBC Wales on Sunday.

"If we can't find someone from Wales who's acceptable for the deputy position, then just get rid of the deputy position."

Since Guto Bebb decided to quit over Brexit, the UK government has filled the Wales Office minister job with English MPs.

Under former prime minister Theresa May, Mr Foster's predecessors were Nigel Adams, who represents Selby and Ainsty in Yorkshire, Eastleigh MP Mims Davies and Welsh speaker Stuart Andrew, who is MP for Pudsey.

Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Kevin Foster has two jobs in addition to being a junior minister in the Wales Office

Mr Foster has two other jobs - in the cabinet office and as a government whip.

On Friday Tory councillor Richard John said not recruiting Welsh MPs to the Wales Office was "damaging" to his party's "Welsh credentials".

Mr Davies replied it was up to Mr Cairns, who is MP for Vale of Glamorgan, to decide who he could work with.

He said the Wales Office "should not be seen as some sort of stepping stone towards another job somewhere else".

And he added that he had "made it clear" he was interested in the role.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Alun Cairns "has presumably a big say" in the appointment, according to Mr Davies

"I think it's a bit unfortunate if I'm honest about it, but I recognise Alun has presumably a big say in who he works with, and we have to respect his wishes and his right to decide who should be his deputy," he said.

Mr Davies said he was very happy to carry on as chairman of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

Former Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies agreed it was a "missed opportunity".

The UK government has been asked to comment.

More on this story