Plaid Cymru pays tribute to Davies

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The Independent Online
In an unprecedented move, the leader of Plaid Cymru yesterday lauded the Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies, for his part in the campaign that last week secured a narrow victory in the referendum for a Welsh assembly.

Dafydd Wigley MP told delegates at the party's annual conference in Aberystwyth: "Ron Davies has been through hell and back to get a Welsh assembly established. He has said quite rightly that devolution is a process and he expects the assembly to develop over time."

There may be differences over the scale of that development but there was a common cause in making the assembly part of a modern Welsh democracy, Mr Wigley said.

Neither Labour nor Plaid Cymru could have achieved a "yes" vote alone. In a swipe at rebel Labour MPs, Mr Wigley commented: "The truth was that Labour could not depend on their own party branches, their own councillors or even all their own MPs - MPs who were elected only four months before on a manifesto committed to an assembly."

But he pointed out that in each of the constituencies held by renegade MPs there were decisive votes in favour of an assembly. "Thank the Lord we can trust the people even when we can't trust the more duplicitous of their representatives."

Mr Wigley claimed that Mr Davies faced danger from within the Labour Party. He claimed that MPs in both Wales and London had hoped to use a "no" vote to elbow the Welsh Secretary out of office. "A vicious campaign has already been launched with spin doctors attempting to influence the London media. It said Mr Davies has `gone native'. That is being bandied around by London's chattering classes."

Defending Mr Davies the Plaid leader declared: "We will not tolerate - nor will the people of Wales - the prospect of a Ron Davies being elbowed aside and replaced by a sanitised clone who will follow the London line."