Wales politics

Ross England: Vale of Glamorgan Tories 'in limbo' over candidacy

Ross England in Barry
Image caption Ross England was suspended 12 weeks ago

Failure to decide if Ross England will remain as a Conservative assembly candidate is leaving his local party "in limbo", its deputy chair has said.

Mr England was suspended in 2019 after news broke that his conduct as a witness led to the collapse of a trial.

Russell Spencer-Downe of the Vale of Glamorgan Conservative Association said there had been "no movement".

The Welsh Conservatives said its investigation "will be concluded very soon".

Mr England had worked for former Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns in his constituency office.

The aide was giving evidence in a rape trial in April 2018 when he made claims about the victim's sexual history, which the complainant denied.

A judge accused him of sabotaging the trial.

A row over what Mr Cairns did and did not know about the case led to his resignation from his ministerial job.

Mr Spencer-Downe told BBC Wales the association was hoping for a "quick decision".

"It's the not knowing that is an issue," he said.

"We're stuck in a limbo where we can't promote a candidate for the assembly elections because we don't know if we're keeping our original candidate or looking to reselect."

He also said the association was not notified of Mr England's suspension in October before it was made public.

"The association only found out through a member reading on Twitter our candidate had been suspended in the first instance."

Communication from the party "wasn't very good," he said.

Image caption Lord Davies said Ross England remained suspended from the party

Senior Tories in the assembly have questioned Mr England's suitability to stand.

Paul Davies, Welsh Conservative Senedd group leader, has said Mr England "fell short" of the standards required of an assembly candidate for the party.

Darren Millar, vice-chairman of the Welsh Conservatives, has called for him to be "ejected" from the job if he does not resign.

Welsh Conservative chairman Lord Davies said: "Ross England is still suspended from the party and therefore as a candidate also, whilst our very thorough investigation continues.

"It will be concluded very soon."

The Vale of Glamorgan is one of the Conservatives' main target seats for the next assembly election, which takes place in May next year.

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