Saturday, October 31, 1998 Published at 12:41 GMT
Blair told: Back off on Davies successor
Labour in Wales is trying to find a successor to Mr Davies
A senior Welsh Labour MP has warned Tony Blair against "parachuting" in Secretary of State Alun Michael as the party's leader in Wales to replace Ron Davies.
Former Welsh Secretary Mr Davies, 52, resigned as minister and party leader after being robbed at knifepoint in south London on Monday night.
The warning to Mr Blair came as Donald Fearon, 38, appeared before Camberwell Green Magistrates Court in south London, charged with stealing the MP's car and its contents.
He was remanded in custody and will next appear in court on 16 November.
The Welsh party executive will now meet on Monday to begin the process of finding a leader to head the new Welsh Assembly.
He told the BBC: "There would be enormous resentment in Wales if someone were to be parachuted in.
He said Mr Michael, who replaced Ron Davies, would be a "strong candidate" if he chose to stand but others should be allowed to put their names forward too.
And he admitted Rhodri Morgan - the MP for Cardiff West who lost to Mr Davies in a bitter internal party poll earlier this year - would be the popular choice of Welsh party activists.
He said: "I don't anticipate on Monday that we will come up with a magic formula.
"There are no ground rules for this, so we are really having to make it up as we go along."
At a private meeting in Ystrad Mynach, members voted to give Mr Davies their full support as their constituency MP for Caerphilly and as a candidate for the National Assembly.
In an interview, he said: "It was a moment of madness for which I have subsequently paid a very, very heavy price and I am deeply sorry. I bitterly regret it."
A copy of a letter written by him to party members was later released to the media.
"The pain has not been helped by the lurid and inaccurate media reports and the allegations about me which have continued unabated.
"I want to emphasise to you very strongly that I was involved in nothing improper or nothing illegal. My actions had nothing to do with sex or drugs."
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