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Politics

It takes two – Welsh Conservative leadership latest

‘No deals,’ Andrew RT Davies insisted when I asked him. ‘I don’t believe in deals.’

And when I put the same question to Darren Millar he used almost identical language, saying ‘There have been no deals with Andrew RT Davies about jobs or anything like that in the future.’

The deal or no deal question keeps being asked by people like me because Mr Millar has regularly been spoken about as a potential leader of the Conservatives in the Assembly and it was considered a given that he would stand for it when the vacancy arose.

Now it has arisen but he won’t be standing and will be supporting Mr Davies. A decision reached, he assured me, after discussing it with his family and based entirely on his belief that Mr Davies is the effective communicator the party needs now that Nick Bourne is no longer in charge in Cardiff Bay.

After all, the AM for Clwyd South reminded me, he’s only 34 and has time on his side.

But cynics will wonder why, as well as not standing, he’s also nominating Mr Davies.

Particularly since the other person who was thought to be a potential leader but isn’t standing, Angela Burns, isn’t backing either man.

Her failure to win nominations will disappoint many inside and outside the party, and not just because she would have broken the male domination of the Conservative leadership.

She also surprised many in the party by holding her Carmarthen West and South Pembs constituency with an increased share of the vote and is said to have strong views on the way the Welsh Conservatives can achieve what seems a distant goal – getting into government in Cardiff Bay.

But in the end, once Nick Ramsay had secured three nominations with the promise of a fourth, it became clear to those of us on the outside what had long been suspected: that there could only be two candidates.

That’s because both acting leader Paul Davies and new Deputy Presiding Officer David Melding said they would remain neutral.

That left only seven AMs in the group and a requirement for three nominations.

According to Darren Millar though, his decision was taken last week before the maths became clear.

A lot more will become clear over the next two months. That’s how long there is for the two candidates to persuade Tory members across the country that they’re the right man for the job.

It looks increasingly likely too that Plaid Cymru will be choosing a leader sooner rather than later too.

The election may be over, but its effects are only just beginning to be felt.

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About Adrian Masters

By day, Political Editor at ITV Wales. By night, obsessed with music and books.

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