Tamsin gets a letter from the Tories

Best wishes to Tamsin from the Tories.

You must understand, the feeling addressed to Tamsin Dunwoody from Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne refers, election-wise, to when she fights a safe Labour Parliamentary constituency.

But Mr Bourne admitted he had already corresponded with Ms Dunwoody, one of the most redoubtable members of Labour’s backbenches up ’til last May.

The letter had been sent on the death of her mother Gwyneth, the firebrand MP for Crewe, and a lady of impeccable southern Valleys Labour credentials.

Mr Bourne added quickly it had been sent before the tall, fair-headed Tamsin, mother of five and smallholder with a tally of cows and pigs to her family’s name, had been chosen to fight the by-election for Labour.

Tamsin made a tremendous impact on the Assembly while she was here. That was presumably why she was wheedled into taking a key place on an Assembly committee which was, despite its name, pledged to delivering, sooner rather than later, a cull of the badgers which are a factor in the current bTB oubreak among cattle.

When one watched a committee session, Tamsin was unique. Sitting there, she would contribute sensibly. When she was not speaking, her head would be hidden behind her lap-top as she typed away. What was she typing ? Checking that the evidence being contributed by a civil servant could be sustained, by checking through primary sources ?

I fancy the Dunwoody genes live on into the next generation. Tamsin is the grand-daughter of Morgan Phillips, a long-serving general secretary of the Labour Party. Tamsin told me once, in the wake of an earnest Assembly discussion of what to do about wild behaviour on school buses, that her daughters had boasted to her about how they (mis)behaved on their school-buses in Pembrokeshire.

A bit, I am afraid, like me on the school train on the way home – putting both hands in the roof straps (hence the phrase, “straphangers”) and lifting both legs well off the ground. That was, for me, the 1950s. What did kids get up to half-a-century earlier ?

There were apparently no overt Welsh Tory offers to offer campaigning help to defeat Ms Dunwoody. Too much respect for her, is why. But plenty have gone to Crewe, although the aim of those who knew Tamsin well is rather to give Dr Brown a bloody nose.

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