Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Dave on tinkering

A few snippets from my brief conference interview with David Cameron:

With a global economic crisis, a political crisis in Congress and the stock market plummeting, I thought I'd ask him about the details of his devolution policy.

The Roberts review designed to settle Tory policy on the issue will be published "soon". The Tory mantra is to "make devolution work" although Mr Cameron added: "I don't think a lot of institutional tinkering is going to help".

I asked how he would react, as Prime Minister, if the Welsh Assembly Government approaches him in late 2010 or early 2011 about holding a referendum on giving the Assembly more powers. He told me I'd have to wait for the Roberts review for an answer to that question.

Will there still be a full-time shadow Welsh Secretary in his top team, even if Gordon Brown decides to merge the Wales Office with its Scottish and Northern Irish counterparts?

"That is certainly my intention....I don't have plans to change that" - although he did frame his comments in the context of the shadow cabinet. There are clearly no guarantees about what would happen in a Conservative government. (Will Gordon Brown really reshuffle his Cabinet this week in the midst of economic turmoil?)

Iain Dale tips Sir Malcolm Rifkind to make a shadow cabinet comeback in a combined role.

There was better news for Alun Cairns, more than three months after his suspension as Tory candidate in the target seat of the Vale of Glamorgan after his "greasy wops" moment.

"He works extremely hard. He cares passionately about the Vale of Glamorgan. He said something he shouldn't have. He made a mistake, he is very apologetic about that. I hope we can settle this soon."

It sounds like the suspension will be lifted shortly. I'd suggest Alun could go out for a pizza to celebrate but that might be misinterpreted.

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