MONMOUTH MP David Davies, who campaigned against Welsh devolution, has said he is "a changed man" on the issue.

The Conservative MP was prominent in the campaign against setting up the Welsh Assembly - now the Welsh Parliament - ahead of the referendum in 1997.

The vote on September 18, 1997, saw voters back setting up a devolved Welsh Assembly - albeit by a narrow margin of 50.3 per cent to 49.7 per cent.


Speaking in Parliament last week, Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake praised Mr Davies as "a strong supporter of devolution", and called for "greater trust and transparency between the four nations".

Replying, Mr Davies, also a junior minister in the Wales Office, said: “Well, (Mr Lake) is being quite kind to me because, of course, I was on a slightly different side of the argument in 1999, but I have reformed, I am a changed man.

“I recognise, of course, that the people of Wales voted twice for devolution in referendums and I believe that when the people of Wales vote for something in a referendum, that choice should be respected.

“So, I respect devolution, I will support devolution. I welcome the suggestion that (Mr Lake) is making of closer co-operation between the UK and Welsh governments over important issues such as agriculture.”

Mr Davies himself served as AM for Monmouth from 1999 - when the Assembly was set up. In 2005 he was elected as MP for the constituency and for a time served in both roles, before standing down from the Senedd at the 2007 election.

Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly voted in favour of setting up the Welsh Assembly in 1997, while Newport, Monmouthshire and Torfaen voted against it.

A second referendum in 2011 on handing more powers to Wales was backed by a much larger margin, with 63.49 per cent voting for it, compared to 36.51 per cent voting against. Monmouthshire was the only area in Wales to vote against the idea.

The Assembly was formerly renamed the Welsh Parliament, or the Senedd, earlier this year, and AMs are now referred to as MSs - Members of the Senedd.