I bumped into the Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, Alun Cairns earlier, who had come fresh from a meeting with the Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
You may remember that when the £14bn plan for a defence training academy at the former RAF St Athan site in the Vale of Glamorgan was scrapped back in October , supporters of the UK Government said there was still a chance that it would be used as a base for training in the future.
The news from Alun Cairns after his meeting with Liam Fox is that although a decision has yet to be made, the plan to site training at a handful of locations around the UK is still very much alive and that St. Athan is still in contention to be one of those sites.
It’s not clear when any such announcement is likely to be made but you can make an educated guess. When it comes to big UK decisions affecting Wales, such as rail electrification and defence training, sources close to the Westminster Government talk about a ‘purdah period’ (which is essentially the Assembly election campaign) during which there won’t be any official announcements from London that might influence the vote in Wales one way or another.
For our purposes that means before the end of March and after May the fifth.
It’s my best guess that an electrification announcement will come before the end of March and defence training will be after May 5th.