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WELSH COUNCIL LEADERS' SADNESS AT DAVIES RESIGNATION

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Leaders of councils across Wales have spoken of the sadness at the decision of Ron Davies, the Welsh secretary, to ...
Leaders of councils across Wales have spoken of the sadness at the decision of Ron Davies, the Welsh secretary, to resign from the government, reports The Western Mail (p2).

Conwy CBC leader Walter Jones said he felt Mr Davies has put Welsh local government back on the map. 'He listened to what we had to say. I was very, very impressed by him. He will be a hard act to follow.'

Brian Smith, Torfaen Council's leader, said: 'If Ron Davies is not part of the Welsh assembly I think we will see the consequences cascading through all levels of government.'

The independent leader of Pembrokeshire CC, Eric Harries, said Mr Davies had been an inclusive secretary of state. 'I met him on many occasions and he held nothing against me because I happened to be leader of the council not of his government's political persuasion. He indicated very clearly that he wished to make every effort to help Pembrokeshire.'

Russell Goodway, Cardiff CC's leader, said: 'Wales owes him a great debt. It was his determination to deliver our programme in Wales that was important.'

The paper (p13) also charts the career of Mr Davies, who cut his political teeth as a councillor on the Bedwas and Machen Urban Council near Caerphilly. He became its chairman aged 24 when the council was enjoying a reputation as one of the most militant in Wales.

He and his colleagues refused to implement council house rent rises, risking surcharge and disqualification. He is married to the former Christina Elizabeth Rees, a one-time local government officer. Mrs Davies was a councillor on the now-defunct Mid Glamorgan CC.

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