Camps claim scalps as key figures switch allegiance

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The Independent Online
Retaliation was the name of the game in the Welsh devolution battle yesterday with both sides intent on parading prisoners.

Anti-devolutionists were basking in the news that Allan Rogers, Labour MP for Rhondda, and Alan Williams, MP for Swansea West since 1964, had declared their intention to register "No" votes in the referendum on 18 September.

Meanwhile, the pro-devolutionists claimed a couple of Tory scalps. Philip Pedley, a former national chairman of the Young Conservatives and Peter Price, a former Tory MEP, said they were switching to the "Yes" camp. Mr Pedley, who was personal assistant to David Hunt when he was secretary of state for Wales, said he was appalled at the actions of some of those opposed to an assembly, adding: "The real solution to the democratic deficit is an elected assembly representing the whole strata of Welsh opinion."

Meanwhile, Mr Rogers said: "If the devolution proposals were part of a structured development of the United Kingdom with all areas being treated in the same way, I would support it 110 per cent. But what we see is the hysterical response to nationalism without it really being thought through."