Image caption Paul Davies says a Welsh Conservative government would “cut the cost of politics”

The Conservatives will promise to “end the assembly gravy train” if they win power at next May’s Senedd election.

At the Welsh Tory conference later, the party’s assembly group leader Paul Davies will pledge to halve the number of Welsh ministers to seven.

He wants to freeze civil servant recruitment and not increase the budget of the body which runs the assembly

“We will not be abolishing the assembly, but we need to listen more” to those who want to, he will say.

The Welsh Conservatives will hold their annual conference in Llangollen after general election success but also serious problems involving some of their politicians.

The party won six seats from Welsh Labour in December, giving it 14 MPs in Wales and its best result since 1983.

But in recent months AM Nick Ramsay challenged the Tory assembly group leader in court for suspending him from the group.

There have also been allegations over the previous business dealings of new Conservative Bridgend MP Jamie Wallis.

Monmouth AM Mr Ramsay was suspended from the party and the assembly group after being arrested on New Year’s Day but released without charge.

He returned to the group last month but remains suspended from the Conservative Party and has said he is considering further legal action over the matter.

Image caption Nick Ramsay is a member of the Conservative assembly group but not a member of the party

But on Friday Mr Davies will want members to turn their minds to next year’s Senedd election, hoping momentum from the general election will help end two decades of Welsh Labour rule.

“A Welsh Conservative Government will cut the cost of politics,” he will tell the conference.

“We will seek to freeze the Assembly Commission’s budget for the full five year term.

“There will be no increase in the number of politicians in Wales under my leadership.

“I will reshape the government too. I will reduce the size of the Welsh Government from 14 ministers to a magnificent seven.

“A 50% cent saving on day one.”

Welsh Tories will have been encouraged by the last weekend’s annual St David’s Day poll for BBC Wales, conducted by by ICM Unlimited, which suggested the Conservatives could be set to win a similar numbers of seat to Labour and Plaid Cymru in Cardiff Bay next year.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-51752672

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