Wales politics

Ross England 'fell short' of Tory candidate standards - Senedd leader

Ross England in Barry
Image caption Ross England has been suspended as a candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan

Ross England has "fallen short" of the standards required of a Tory Welsh Assembly candidate, the party's leader in the Senedd Paul Davies had said.

Mr England was suspended after it emerged that his conduct as a witness in a rape trial led to its collapse.

Two Tory AMs have criticised Mr England's candidacy for the Vale of Glamorgan, almost a week after the news first emerged.

His former employer Alun Cairns quit as Welsh Secretary on Wednesday.

He resigned after it came out that he had been emailed about the case months before Mr England was selected - Mr Cairns had denied knowing about it.

Giving evidence in the April 2018 trial, Mr England made claims about having a sexual relationship with the victim, which she denied, after judge Stephen John Hopkins QC had made it clear evidence about her sexual history was inadmissible.

Mr Hopkins said to Mr England: "Why did you say that? Are you completely stupid", later telling him to: "Get out of my court."

The defendant James Hackett was subsequently convicted of rape at a retrial.

After the news broke last week Mr England, who was working for the party as a campaign manager, was suspended from his job and his candidacy.

The latter is due to go to the party's candidates committee for consideration.

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Image caption Paul Davies said the case was shocking

Paul Davies, AM for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said the case has been "shocking and disturbing".

"My heart goes out to this individual and to all victims of rape and sexual assault," he said.

"I expect the highest standards from Welsh Conservative assembly candidates; this court case suggests that Ross England has fallen short of those standards."

Another Tory AM suggested Mr England should step aside.

Angela Burns, who represents Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, tweeted: "I would urge the individual involved in causing the mistrial of the rape case and so much heartache for the victim to consider his position."

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