Antoinette Sandbach’s recent elevation to candidate – and sure-fire next MP – for Eddisbury in Cheshire got me thinking. What is the party political make-up of politicians moving from the Senedd to the Commons or vice versa?
Many other commentators have pointed out that it’s implicit in the direction of the move what an individual politician regards as the greater prize. There are many possible motives. For starters, there’s the financial inducement – and I don’t just mean the £74,000 salary of an MP as compared to the poverty-stricken (£64,000 from 2016) AMs. Once at Westminster, there are apparently no end of ways to bend the rules so you can stuff your snout as far and as deep in the trough as Chris Bryant likes.
Presumably some people rather like the pomp and ceremony of Westminster, the feeling of glory associated with being a part of the greater legislative body. Even if you’re only a miniscule, irrelevant guest at the party.
Of course, some politicians feel that Westminster is little but dumb, cold walls against which to hit your head and hands.
So on to the list…
Conservative Members (Senedd to Commons)
- Glyn Davies (1999-2007); (2010-present) Glyn had a 3-year break from politics following his defeat in the 2007 election
- Alun Cairns (1999-2011); (2010-present) Alun was ‘double-jobbing’ from 2010 to 2011, without drawing the AM salary
- David Davies (1999-2007); (2005-present) David held Monmouth as an AM and MP for two years
- Antoinette Sandbach (2011-present); (2015 on) Antoinette will rescind her list seat in the Assembly
Conservative Members (Commons to Senedd)
- Rod Richards (1992-1997); (1999-2002)
Labour Members (Senedd to Commons)
- Alun Michael (1999-2000); (1987-2012); Alun didn’t relinquish his Commons seat whilst First Secretary
Labour Members (Commons to Senedd)
- Ron Davies (1983-2001); (1999-2003); Ron left Labour, joining first Forward Wales and then Plaid Cymru
- Rhodri Morgan (1987-2001); (1999-2011)
- John Marek (1983-2001); (1999-2007); John was deselected by Labour before the 2003 election but was elected as an independent. Since losing his seat he has joined the Conservatives.
Plaid Members (Commons to Senedd)
- Cynog Dafis (1992-2000); (1999-2003)
- Dafydd Wigley (1974-2001); (1999-2003)
- Dafydd Elis-Thomas (1974-1992); (1999-present); Dafydd had a seven-year break from politics
- Ieuan Wyn Jones (1987-2001); (1999-2013)
Other Members (Senedd to Commons)
- Peter Law (1999-2006); (2005-2006); Peter (a former Labour AM) was both MP and AM at the time of his death
This list isn’t quite as interesting as I’d imagined it would be. Perhaps that’s because I’ve missed some names off – do let me know if that’s the case. And there are some politicians who’ve swapped European seats for the green benches (Wayne David), and a fair few who’ve been tempted from the Assembly by the smell of ermine.
But at the very least it gives us a clear indication that the Conservatives are much more likely than the other parties to view Westminster as the ‘real’ Parliament, and the Senedd as the Kindergarten. The Lib Dems don’t appear on the list at all. Labour politicians have tended to gravitate to the Senedd, although the prize for the party that puts most emphasis on the Senedd goes to Plaid. That’s because a huge proportion of Plaid MPs who have ever sat in Westminster since the inauguration of the Welsh Parliament have shifted from London back to Wales. The exceptions are Elfyn Llwyd, Jonathan Edwards and Hywel Williams, who are all current MPs, and Adam Price, who has been selected as the candidate for Carmarthen East & Dinefwr in 2016‘s Assembly elections.
Should this surprise us? Not really. When it comes to the relative priority that the parties show towards the Welsh national interest, Plaid really are a light year ahead of the Unionist/British Nationalist parties.