Finance and Public Services Delivery Minister Andrew Davies has announced today that he is to stand down as an AM at the next Assembly Election. The man behind Edwina Harts campaign said that “it is time for me to have a greater balance and change of pace in my life and to seek out new challenges.”
The question we’re asking is did he jump before he was pushed? We know that Andrew Davies isn’t Carwyn Jones’ biggest fan, recently he described his role in the Cabinet as “semi-detached”. We also know that Carwyn will be looking to promote some of his supporters into the cabinet (Leighton Andrews anyone?) and so it may be that the prospect of being demoted to a backbench AM was something he didn’t fancy.
The news will also come as a bit of a kick in the teeth to Carwyn Jones who had been quite successful in pushing his theme of post election party unity. I wonder if this announcement will take some of the gloss off Tuesday’s events? In saying that, this does make his reshuffle a little easier, he can now claim that because Andrew Davies is stepping down in 2011 he had to replace him in the cabinet, and it therefore had nothing to do with their frosty relationship (but such a strategy could leave him in hot water because of Jane Davidson).
Today’s news offers a whole host of implications for the upcoming reshuffle and is likely to spawn several conspiracy theories, it could just be that Andrew Davies fancied a change!
His decision to step down has been on the cards for a while according to some, but others have been caught by surprise. As late as last night some Plaid Cymru sources had been telling the Western Mail that Carwyn Jones should keep Andrew Davies in the Cabinet. I doubt they’ll be saying that today. You can read more about that here.
Andrew Davies will leave behind a Swansea West constituency that is high on the Liberal Democrats hit list, which whilst not making everyone quake in fear should give the Labour party some cause for concern. The Liberals have steadily increased their council representation in Swansea and have a strong operation in the area.
The list of AMs stepping down at the next election is growing almost monthly, which means that whatever the outcome politically there will bve a host of new faces come 2011.
P.S a quick plug: If you’re not already following us on Twitter you should be! Here’s the link take a look to see who broke the news first...