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News, Politics

In from the Cold

There’s a chill wind blowing across Cardiff Bay today but inside the Senedd, there’s a heart-warming tale of forgiveness and rehabilitation.

It’s now nearly two years since Conservative leader Nick Bourne sacked Jonathan Morgan from his Shadow Cabinet.

This followed rumours that the AM for Cardiff North was about to challenge Mr Bourne for the leadership, after several other Tory AMs had started casting doubt on whether their leader was getting his tactics right.

The rumoured challenge never happened because some of the newer and more ambitious AMs realised that if Mr Morgan took over, they would have a long time to wait for their chance.

Once it became apparent that Nick Bourne was unlikely to be challenged before the next Assembly election, Jonathan Morgan paid the price of his rumoured disloyalty. Also sacked was William Graham for less clear cut reasons, perhaps simply because it looked slightly less odd having two backbenchers instead on just one.

For the first time, the Conservative group and the Shadow Cabinet became two distinct bodies. Jonathan and William were left pressing their noses against the glass wall of the committee room when the shadow team met.

Within months, the word from behind the glass was that Nick Bourne would eventually bring his backbenchers back in from the cold, having made his point. But he was in no hurry. Only now, just months from the Assembly election, he has reshuffled his team.

Jonathan Morgan will now shadow local government, with Darren Millar moving from that portfolio to economy and transport. David Melding gives up economy and transport to concentrate on writing the Welsh Conservatives’ Assembly election manifesto.

William Graham is not forgotten, with the role of shadow minister for regeneration created for him. There is one backbencher, as Alun Cairns is stepping down as shadow heritage minister.

He’s found it difficult to get to the Senedd on a regular basis since he became an MP and he will leave the Assembly next year. Heritage is now added to Mohammad Asghar’s brief, he will also continue to shadow equality issues.

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