Camps claim scalps as key figures switch allegiance

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Indy Politics
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 : "The real solution to the democratic deficit is an elected assembly representing the whole strata of Welsh opinion."

Meanwhile, Mr Rogers said the devolution proposals were "the hysterical response to nationalism without it really being thought through".

An ICM poll for the Guardian newspaper today showed Welsh voters could reject home rule. The survey's findings suggest a low turnout could see the result go narrowly against the Government.