A GWENT AM says the leader of the Assembly Tories shouldn’t have been allowed to sack him from the chairmanship of an Assembly committee.
Conservative politician Nick Ramsay called on the Tory group to pull together but said there were certain issues that were ‘preventing that from happening’.
Yesterday, group leader Andrew RT Davies backed South Wales East AM William Graham as chairman of the business and enterprise committee – installed after Mr Ramsay was fired from both that role and the shadow cabinet in February.
It is the latest note in a row within the Tory Assembly group that started after he and three other AMs refused to back an Assembly move to oppose UK government proposals over income tax, leading to their sackings.
On Monday, shadow cabinet member Byron Davies was reported to have missed several sessions of the committee, saying it was ‘wrong’ to sack Mr Ramsay from the chairmanship.
Monmouth AM Mr Ramsay said Mr Davies had “pointed out a flaw in the Assembly system” which was shown when he was removed as chair, and when Plaid’s Lord Elis-Thomas was removed as chairman of the environment committee.
“A number of members are getting very concerned about the way supposedly independent chairs of committees in the Assembly can be replaced by party leaders at a whim,” he said.
In his own case he said he thought “the way that the rotation of chairs happened in that instance was very bad and there’s nothing to stop it happening again.”
Mr Ramsay said there “should be a free vote across all parties... so chairs of committees here are given the same sort of independence and protection that they have in Westminster.”
“There’s no point at all in devolving further powers to this place unless these issues about how the Assembly can scrutinise those powers are made far more robust,” he said.
Mr Ramsay said : “Byron’s comments show there are issues which are preventing members of the group from pulling together.”
Tory group leader Andrew RT Davies told a press conference yesterday: “William Graham will not be sacked as chairman of that committee.
“We chair that committee, I am comfortable with the way we are holding the government to account.”
Asked if he would be taking action against Byron Davies, he said: “That’s a matter for us internally.”
The Conservatives did not provide any response to Mr Ramsay’s comments yesterday.