Jacob Williams
Monday 9th July, 2012

SCOOP: Tory candidate selection for PCC

SCOOP: Tory candidate selection for PCC

It’s official, and you heard it here first – Cllr. John Davies is trying to become the Conservative party’s candidate for November’s police and crime commissioner election.

Yesterday I posted that the party would be holding two meetings to ballot its members over the (then) unknown nominees.

At this evening’s selection meeting in Narberth – which ended only a short time ago – Cllr. Davies went up against one other candidate to secure the party’s nomination.

Around 60 members attended from local Conservative associations within the Dyfed-Powys force boundary.

I’m told that the general vibe from the meeting is that Davies lacked substance, despite having gone into it with the perception of being a good speaker. Both candidates have one more chance to win over the remaining party members who haven’t yet voted, at a similar meeting to be held in Brecon tomorrow evening.

During questions, Davies was asked how long he had been a member of the party. I hear his reply was served with an amount of spin Andy Murray would be proud of.

My source isn’t sure what caused the most irritation: that he didn’t answer this simple, specific question, or that his avoidance was proof enough that this was a last-minute decision from a total outsider hoping to use their party for his own ends.

By this stage the dreaded waffling had set in, and to paraphrase my source, one of the sentences that was roughly decipherable related to Cllr. Davies’ ignorance that he had to be a member of the party to seek nomination.

One area that was probed in some detail was Davies’ stated intention to sort out the finances of policing in Dyfed-Powys. By the time questions centred around what he would do differently as commissioner than he has been doing (or should have been doing) in his capacity as a member of the police authority where he chairs the Finance and General Purposes Committee; the fountain had run dry.

I’ve been told this line of questioning was intentionally a positive one – to give Davies a chance to orate some solid ideas and commitments, because at this stage, the jury was still out.

What was forthcoming has been described to me as the ‘mouth moving faster than the brain,’ though this was one of many nails in the proverbial coffin.

The other nominee – Christopher Salmon – is seen as the lead contender and is a long-standing member of the party – though ironically even if he’d only joined last week, compared to Davies he could still be considered a long-standing member.

Following a history in the armed services, Mr. Salmon stood for parliament at the 2010 general election in Llanelli, coming third with a marginal percentage increase over the Tories’ 2005 candidate.

Obviously Salmon has an advantage over Davies within the party (familiarity and all that) and this advantage is important, because it’ll be the local association members who are balloted. I’ve been told that a low number is expected to turn up to tomorrow’s meeting in Brecon, so the Narberth meeting is regarded as the deciding encounter.

The final blow for Davies came not from his inability to explain himself or to think on his feet, but courtesy of a prickly question that resurfaced.

Earlier in the meeting he thought he’d dispatched it with minimal bloodshed. Accordingly, the bigger, older sharks were not amused. For a second time, the question was put to Davies – exactly how long had he been a member of the Conservatives? His answer – since Sunday evening.

I’ll update as and when I hear further.

*CLICK TO SEE UPDATE


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6 Comments...

  • The Crow

    Were you at the meeting, and were both Welsh speakers?

  • Given the detail I’ve gone into in my coverage of this evening’s meeting, I can understand why you might ask if I was there!

    I would have no reason to go as it was only open to Conservative party members. My level of detail can be purely attributed to my sources!

    I don’t know if Christopher Salmon is a Welsh speaker but John Davies is. It could be an advantage to Davies if Salmon isn’t.

    One area I would suggest Salmon has a clear advantage is that Davies is not seen as a Tory man, at least by the local party members who are being balloted tonight and tomorrow night, whereas Salmon’s ‘Tory credentials’ are in no doubt.

  • Dixon of Dock Green

    Sir, you state that Cllr Davies joined the Tory party on Sunday 8 July. A party member who was present at the selection meeting tells me Cllr Davies joined on Monday 9 May.

    Either way, it must be one of the most blatant acts of carpetbaggery in recent political history.

  • Having since spoken to somebody else in the know, I can go further than last night’s post by saying that Davies doesn’t even have the support of a pretty high-ranking member of the local Tories who shall remain nameless.

    John Davies’ approach has infuriated many. However, if he does go on to pull the rabbit out of the hat, I think it will owe a lot to the fact that he had card-carrying Tories in his cabinet and within his ‘independent’ political group. This patronage business has gone a long way in Pembrokeshire historically, and, though it’s looking unlikely from all current indicators, it may see Davies through this party selection battle yet.

    However, the real fight will be on election day, where voters tend to be less amenable to such back-patting. I’ve done the basic maths and Pembrokeshire amounts to less than a quarter of the constituency’s voters on November 15th.

    I’ve heard that if Davies stands he’s banking on strong support from Pembrokeshire. If home advantage is going to play a key part in this election you’d have to say the candidate with the better chance on paper would surely come from Carmarthenshire with the largest share of voters amounting to over 35%, bordering Powys which has the second-largest electorate with over a quarter of voters.

  • Narberth rebel

    Well done Jacob, I just hope that Jamie Adams has the backbone to stand up to him and his cronies who have enjoyed years of plenty on the back of appointments carrying extra allowances. Please remind us how much he (JD) has claimed in the last 8 years of his ‘leadership’.

  • Gordon

    It would be good to know who in the Conservative party were supporting his candidature. I can’t believe that he would have stood without support from senior figures. Who were they? This episode does not reflect well on the Conservative party.

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