Thursday, 8 October 2009

She's not John Redwood

Among all the embarrassing things that could happen to you at a party conference, it probably ranks alongside turning up in the same outfit as a Lib Dem activist.

The Tories are playing my record collection (as I still call it) to party members here. The Style Council, Snow Patrol......I'm a bit worried they'll start playing The Smiths next. Either I've got older or the Conservative taste in music has got younger; probably a bit of both.

I've spent the last 24 hours trying to discover the political views of the woman likely to become Secretary of State for Wales if David Cameron wins the general election.

The Tory leader admits his party is still divided over devolution. We know its leader in Cardiff Bay, Nick Bourne, thinks the Welsh Assembly should have full law-making powers. After almost five years in the job, no-one knows Cheryl Gillan's views on the subject.

The Tories have promised to reveal their party policy before the general election but are waiting for the All-Wales Convention to report on the prospects for a referendum. (Most activists here are keener on a referendum on Europe but that's another story).

If a Conservative Government did agree to a referendum on Assembly powers, a risky strategy in itself, then Tory MPs would be given a free vote which could see senior politicians from the governing party campaigning against each other.

Cheryl Gillan's views on this remain a mystery, although she did let slip a secret or two during a visit to a stall promoting Welsh produce in the conference: "My husband's a faggots and peas man".

Ms Gillan would be the first woman Secretary of State Wales has seen. She'd be the sixth from an English constituency, an experience that has previously ended in tears for the Tories.

The Gillan response? "I'm not John Redwood".


James D said...

Well, I suppose she has a good record for keeping her head still and her mouth shut... ;-)

Anonymous said...

There's an unfortunate line break in that penultimate sentence - well done if it was deliberate!