Sunday, 20 March 2016

Two Welsh Tories in the Cabinet, Wow!

So we have two Welsh  Conservative MPs on the Cabinet something of a record I imagine . Even Labour  have had a problem selecting a Welsh MP  (at least ones born here) to serve in their  Cabinet  beyond the Welsh Secretary and even then we had Peter Hain.

With Stephen Crabb going to work and Pensions he will be shadowed by Owen Smith. Again outside the Welsh secretary  when was the last time this happened?

The promotion of Crabb and Own Smith facing him over the dispatch Box means that welfare is going to be a prominent part of the Welsh media which may well delight Labour activist , who may hope that Smith will shake of his past support for austerity cuts and not hand Plaid any chance to claim the mantle of protectors of the poor and vulnerable.

But Unionist wil surely argue that the major parties are taking Wales seriously. 

As the welfare Minister Crab may well come under scrutiny  claiming  £8,049 on the refurbishment of his flat in London, including "£500 for a goose down duvet and corner TV unit."]. He then sold the flat for a profit and "flipped" his second home expenses claim to cover a house that was being purchased for his family in Pembrokeshire, allowing him to claim £9,300 in stamp duty and £1,325 per month in interest on its mortgage.[A room in another flat of a fellow MP was designated as his main home and he paid half of the rent there.] At the time he said,
"I haven’t claimed for things like plasma TVs, even though the rules allow it. My claims were always within the letter and the spirit of the rules."

Those hoping for a change of heart from the attacks on the poor and vulnerable are likely to be as disappointed.
 On 17 March 2016, following his vote in the House of Commons, which in effect meant the cutting of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for disabled people by £30 per week, a 38degrees petition was launched demanding that Crabb resign his post as patron of Mencap Pembrokeshire.] Crabb's constituency offices in Pembrokeshire were also vandalised as a result of his vote. Graffiti asking: “Why do you hate the sick” was seen on the facade of Stephen Crabb MP’s building on 12 March 2016.[] In response, Crabb said that MPs had decided

 "to reduce the level of benefit for those in the Work-related activity group of Employment and Support Allowance. What this actually means is that those individuals who are considered to be able to work in the future will now access the same level of benefit as those on Job Seekers Allowance, but will be given better tailored support to help them into employment. It doesn’t affect those already claiming ESA."

Even opponents will reluctantly  admit that he was a relative  success at the Welsh Office .

In profile at least.

True  his plans for Devo Dipyn Bach were rubbish but he had an air of competence not shared by his previous Tory colleagues in the Job.

Whether Alun Cairns  in Crabb's old job as Welsh Secretary will do so is doubtful .
Cairns to has had problems with his housing

 In September 2008, Cairns admitted that he asked for a National Assembly rule to be "clarified" to determine whether he could claim expenses for a second home in Cardiff. A rule change introduced in late 2006 by the Assembly's House Committee allowed him to claim expenses related to a flat in Cardiff even though his main home was reclassified as being situated in the Vale of Glamorgan through no fault of his own.[

Taken in as a Tory Cabinet Minister he expects Job Seekers to face travelling 1½ hours to each way to the journey from his Vale of Glamorgan home to the Assembly seems to have ben to much for him.

I doubt that having another Welsh MP in the Cabinet may not benefit Wales much but it is likely to increase Tory Spin  prior to Mays Assembly Election. 

However any one expecting major changes and a softer approach  from either of these men  is likely  to be disappointed.


  1. In 1990, there were three Welsh cabinet members; Michael Heseltine, Michael Howard and Geoffrey Howe. Fat lot of good it did Wales

    1. None of these represented Welsh seat though.