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Wednesday, October 28, 1998 Published at 15:12 GMT

UK Politics

Shock and sniggers in Wales

The Welsh appear to have mixed views on Ron Davies' fate

The day after resigning as Welsh Secretary, Ron Davies is believed to have returned to Wales, although not his family home.

But should he venture back he is likely to meet a mixed reaction, veering from sympathy to glee at his downfall.

[ image: Alun Michael: Replaces Davies as Welsh Secretary]
Alun Michael: Replaces Davies as Welsh Secretary
Ann and Edmond Edmonds, who run a Post Office in Mr Davies' Caerphilly constituency, expressed their sympathy for Mr Davies.

Mrs Edmonds said: "We are just so sad for the family, especially Ron's wife Chris and daughter Angharad.

"Ron has been our hard-working MP for many years and has done a lot for this area. People should show some loyalty and support for him. It's too easy to criticise him without knowing all the facts."

But Mr Davies will probably not want to visit his local pub, the Holly Bush, in an attempt to forget his problems.

Manager Dean Porter told BBC Wales the former secretary of state had not been universally popular.

"A lot of people in the community don't like him," he said. "If he was to come in here now there wouldn't be anyone sitting with him.

"The reaction when the news came through for most people in here was to laugh."

[ image: Davies in 1983: Reputation as a fair political opponent]
Davies in 1983: Reputation as a fair political opponent
Mr Davies is due to hold a constituency surgery at the weekend and Friday night he is expected to attend a crunch meeting of the constituency Labour Party to discuss his Cabinet resignation and his future.

Elwin Morgan, constituency chairman said: "No-one yet really knows the full reasons for Ron's resignation and we will want to hear from him about that. But I am sure there is very strong support for Ron to continue as our MP."

Mr Morgan added: "Personally, I think it would be very sad if, after steering through Welsh devolution, Ron was not there to see the Assembly implemented."

Former political opponents are equally magnanimous, not wishing to appear to be trying to make too much capital from Mr Davies' downfall.

Sid Morgan, a Plaid Cymru councillor, said: "He was always a very active opponent but never bore personal malice. It's a double tragedy really. He was a genuine nice guy."

[ image: Davies in 1983: Reputation as a fair political opponent]
Davies in 1983: Reputation as a fair political opponent
Colin Hobbs, a former Labour councillor who worked alongside the former Welsh secretary, added: "I very much hope he should not drop out of politics. He had lots to offer the people of Wales."

Caerphilly resident Nigel Brooks said: "Caerphilly is still reeling. I am disappointed at what has happened and everybody is just speculating about the real reasons behind this. The trouble is there are more questions than answers."

But Angharad Davies who led Mr Davies' successful campaign for the Labour leadership in Wales said: "There is still a lot of personal and political support for Ron in Wales after everything he has done since the general election. I don't think his resignation necessarily precludes him from playing a role."

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