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Paul Davies wins Welsh Conservative leadership vote

The AM for Preseli Pembrokeshire becomes leader of the opposition in the Welsh Assembly.

The Welsh Conservative Party have elected Paul Davies as their new leader in the Assembly.

The AM for Preseli Pembrokeshire previously served as chief whip and was interim leader after the resignation of his predecessor Andrew RT Davies.

Mr Davies beat opponent Suzy Davies by 68.1% of the vote to 31.9%, and promised in his victory speech to topple Labour at the next assembly election in 2021.

Prime Minister Theresa May offered her congratulations to Mr Davies after the result, saying he would hold a “failing Welsh Labour government to account”.

The result of the leadership vote cast by members was announced at Ffos Las racecourse in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, on Thursday.

Mr Davies, who becomes the leader of the opposition in the Senedd, said his party had a duty to offer the Welsh public a “progressive, innovative and radical alternative to more of the same”.

Mr Davies previously suggested a debate to cut taxation in Wales, and said he wanted a country “where tax system encourages work, protects the low paid and allows people to keep their hard-earned money”.

He refused to say whether Wales would be stronger outside the EU after Brexit, but admitted voting for Remain during the referendum campaign.

Mr Davies said politicians had to “respect the wishes of the people” and promised to work with Theresa May and the UK government.

He also promised to continue holding the Welsh Government to account with the delayed investigation into the sacking of Labour AM Carl Sargeant, who was found dead days after losing his cabinet job in November last year, saying he thought the Sargeant family had been treated “appallingly”.

Theresa May said in a statement: “I warmly congratulate Paul Davies on his election as leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly, and look forward to working with him and the rest of our team as they hold Labour’s failing Welsh Government to account.

“There has never been a more vital time to do this, and I know that Paul will do a fantastic job speaking up for the Welsh people.”

Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, said: “I’d like to extend my congratulations to Paul Davies, the new leader of Conservative Group in the Assembly and my commiserations to Suzy Davies who fought a great campaign across Wales. Suzy will continue to play a key part in the Assembly group and the Welsh party.

“I have worked with Paul over many years and I am excited by the enthusiasm, ideas and close collaboration that he will bring to the role.

“I look forward to working with Paul to hold the failing Welsh Labour Government to account after two decades of control, but more importantly in ensuring that the Conservatives in Cardiff Bay and Westminster can continue to deliver for the whole of Wales.”

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