Last week I said that what the Tories lack in principle, they often make up for in pragmatism. A perfect example of that trait unfolded this evening. Vaughan Roderick gave us the first insight with this one-liner:
Mae Llywodraeth y Cynulliad wedi ennill ei brwydr ynghylch yr LCO Tai.
But Tom Bodden filled in the details in this post:
U-turn or S-bend?
... Last week, with a newly-installed Conservative-Lib Dem Government at Westminster, Welsh Minister David Jones, Clwyd West, announced he had reached an agreement with WAG to amend the [Housing] LCO, withdrawing the abolition [of the right to buy] power.
Plaid's deputy housing minister Jocelyn Davies admitted her 'disappointment and frustration' that further delay could scupper the order, preventing the rest of the powers passing along the M4. Baby out with bath water to continue the plumbing metaphor, so to speak.
Having reluctantly agreed to the amendments, she received a phone call from Mr Jones on Friday admitting that there was insufficient time to make the changes at Westminster and that the LCO should proceed intact.
It's all 'in pursuance of the spirit of mutual respect', an important aspect of the ConLib coalition relationship with Cardiff.
Tory leader in the Assembly Nick Bourne said: "Cheryl (Gillan Welsh secretary) has made the decision that's going through unamended because of procedural difficulties but quite rightly in pursuance of the respect agenda, Cheryl has said without hesitation it has got to go through without amendment."
Jocelyn Davies confessed yesterday that the motivation didn't concern her so much as the decision which would enable the Labour-Plaid government in Wales to deliver a pledge to act on housing.
But when you look at the facts in more detail, several things don't quite stack up. If Cheryl Gillan could say "without hesitation" that the draft Housing LCO had to go through without amendment, one can only wonder why the Tories did not let it go through as part of the wash-up just before the Westminster election ... or indeed why David Jones has just wasted the last few weeks proposing the amendments to it.
Mind you, the Tories have managed to get this sorted out after only a few weeks in power. If it hadn't been for Labour's internal differences, the Housing LCO could have been passed a couple of years ago.
But there are no prizes for guessing what the method in this Tory madness is. If they can con us into believing that they will pass all LCO requests without the refusals and delays that characterized the approach of Labour MPs when they were in power at Westminster, they will then be able to argue that the LCO process is just fine as it is ... and that we don't need to get rid of it.