The last few weeks the Welsh Conservatives have been impacted by division and scandal. The differing opinions on devolution of prospective regional list candidates demonstrating the broad church nature of the party writes Christopher Harries.
The Conservative Party has always been a broad church with a membership that holds differing opinions on issues yet united on core values. Any internal division must, however, be put aside at election time. That is an example for the Welsh Conservatives to heed as the elections for the Welsh Parliament approach.
The acrimony connected to selections coupled with negative headlines from Cardiff Bay in the last few weeks has been an unnecessary distraction from holding the Welsh Government to account.
Andrew RT Davies MS returning as leader of the Conservative group in the Senedd is an opportunity. An opportunity for the Welsh Conservative Party to unite to face the election. A divided party can not hope to be taken seriously by the electorate.
Paul Davies MS acknowledged the negative headlines had become a distraction in his statement announcing his resignation as leader of the Welsh Conservative group in the Senedd. In making the call to resign, Paul demonstrated his commitment to the party and enabled the party to renew its focus on holding to account the Welsh Government.
The selfless decision to stand down taken by Paul Davies must be an inspiration for personalities within the party. Individuals may have grounds for disappointment or complaint on the back of selections, but they risk overshadowing the election campaign. Any grievances should be cast aside for the good of the party. The focus should now be on holding the Welsh Labour Government to account.
The Welsh Conservative Party must coalesce around the new leader of the Senedd group, Andrew RT Davies. To unite around the new leader of the group is not to make the party a sect. The party must remain a broad church, with a membership that has a broad spectrum of opinion on issues. Despite being a broad church, we must come together to be one at elections.
Christopher Harries is a Welsh Conservative member.