Wales: Plaid Cymru happy to be Labour lapdogs, says Bourne

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Sep 22 14:04:25 UTC 2007

Plaid happy to be Labour lapdogs, says Bourne

Sep 22 2007

by David Williamson, Western Mail

PLAID CYMRU swapped the prospect of leadership to be Labours lapdogs,
Welsh Conservative Nick Bourne will declare tomorrow. In the weeks
following the May elections Mr Bourne hoped to forge a non-Labour rainbow
coalition Government with Plaid and the Liberal Democrats. Now, in his
first major attack on the party since its leader Ieuan Wyn Jones went into
government with Labour, he accuses Plaid of being happy to play a
subservient role.

In his speech to a Conservative policy forum at Gwbert-on-Sea, Ceredigion,
he will argue that Plaid made a strategic mistake by not forming a
Government based on the All-Wales Accord his party helped draft. He will
say, From what we have seen of the Government so far it is plainly evident
that Labour intend to dominate Plaid Cymru and Plaid Cymru seem happy with
that arrangement. Happy only to be Labours lapdogs, Plaid Cymru have
settled for a junior partnership with only a small number of ministerial
portfolios, when the All-Wales Accord offered the chance to be the main

However, he also claimed that policies in the One Wales pact officially
signed by Labour First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Mr Jones on Tuesday
first appeared in the Conservative manifesto. These include council tax
relief for older people, a new Welsh Language Act, a re-instated post
office development fund, and new consultation on hospital reconfiguration.
He will say, A brief read of the Labour-Plaid agreement reveals some areas
of agreement some policies and commitments have been lifted straight from
our own manifesto. They do say that imitation is the sincerest form of
flattery, but we must also ensure that these policies are enacted.

The Conservatives now the official opposition in the Assembly have also
attacked plans to merge NHS trusts in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and
Ceredigion. Mr Bourne said, I am particularly concerned at the lack of
consultation. I do not agree with the merger. He added, [The] so-called
consultation is limited to Community Health Councils and employees.
Whatever happened to the public? This is not consultation. It is a cosy

Shadow Health Minister Jonathan Morgan this week said an ideological
divide had returned to Welsh politics, with the Conservatives the
defenders of patient choice in the NHS. Plaid last night retaliated
against Mr Bournes jibes, accusing him of leading a party divided on
devolution. Their comments follow a report in yesterdays Western Mail in
which former Tory AM and now Monmouth MP David Davies attacked Mr Bournes
support for a law-making parliament. He said further devolution endangered
the future of the United Kingdom and warned that an independent Wales
would experience Soviet levels of poverty.

A Plaid spokesman said, It was only a few weeks ago that the Tories were
saying that Plaid and Labour couldnt work together now were supposed to be
Labours lapdogs. This is just more spin from a desperate Tory leader who
is trying to take attention away from the row between him and David Davies
MP and the recent downturn for his party in the polls. Defending the terms
of the coalition with Labour, the spokesman added, The One Wales document
is a nation-building document which includes Plaid policies such as
commitments to campaign for a Yes vote in a referendum on a parliament,
increased investment in housing, new Welsh language legislation and help
for pensioners with council tax; it is a progressive document that will
make a difference for the people of Wales.

But Mid and West Wales AM Mr Bourne said the One Wales Pact had massive
gaping holes and that policies which outlined were sketchy and


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