Congratulations to Paul Davies who has been elected as the new leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Assembly. He has been a member of the Welsh Assembly since 2007, representing the constituency of Preseli Pembrokeshire. Since June he has been serving as interim leader since the resignation of Andrew RT Davies.

Suzy Davies, the Welsh Assembly Member for South Wales West, was the runner-up.

The BBC reports:

“Welsh Conservative chairman Byron Davies told activists at Ffos Las racecourse, Carmarthenshire, on Thursday that Mr Davies won a postal ballot of party members by 68.1 per cent of the votes to 31.9 per cent on a turnout of 52%.”

It would have been interesting to have the figures for the actual number of votes cast – as we would then have been able to discover how many members we have in Wales. But the declaration did not include that. However it was followed by a confident speech by the new leader.

Paul Davies promises to offer a “progressive, innovative and radical alternative to more of the same”. He calls for a “tax system [which] encourages work, protects the low paid and allows people to keep their hard-earned money”. His vision is for a “Wales that is unashamedly pro business and where we encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and wealth creation.” This includes protecting small businesses from the “stranglehold of excessive Business Rates.” It also requires public services “where decision makers are genuinely held to account”. Some of us would like a similarly bold and unapologetic tone from Conservatives in England…

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said:

“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 MP, 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.”

Brandon Lewis MP, Chairman of the Conservative Party, said:

“I send my congratulations to Paul Davies, the new leader of the Conservative Group in the Welsh Assembly. I know that Paul will continue to deliver for Wales and work hard to hold the failing Labour-run Welsh Government to account.”

The Conservative Group in the Welsh Assembly is currently 12 strong. Paul Davies says it is “time for us to raise our game.” Labour has a poor record in Government – but they remain well ahead with 29 out the 60 seats. The next election is due to take place in 2021.

Good luck to them. It does seem that a confusingly high proportion of the high up in the Welsh Conservatives are called Davies. The joke used to be that all Welshmen were called Jones…