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Monday, November 2, 1998 Published at 19:10 GMT


UK Politics

Ron Davies's speech in full


The Former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies made an impassioned speech to the House of Commons following the incident on Clapham Common which led to his resignation.

The full text of his personal statement to the Commons, reads:

"Madam Speaker, I am grateful to you for allowing me this opportunity to make a personal statement. Last Monday evening I made a severe error of judgment, failing to protect my personal safety, and became the victim of what was for me a frightening and shocking crime.

I reported the matter to the police, and the process of law will now take its course. For that reason I will make no further comment on that aspect of the matter.

I with to offer my heartfelt apologies to the House for any embarrassment I may have caused.

On Tuesday morning I explained to the prime minister what had occurred, apologised for it and offered him my resignation, which he accepted. I want to place on record my thanks for his personal support and solicitude over the last few days, which has been a great comfort.

The events of the last week have been unremittingly agonising. I could not have got through them without the love and support of the two people most dear to me, my wife Chris and my daughter Angharad.

Without the constant support of a few dear friends, I cannot imagine how I could have got through this nightmare, and I offer them my heartfelt thanks."

I also want to thank many other close friends for their endless patience in the face of a constant barrage of media pressure.

Finally, I am grateful for the messages of support from former ministerial colleagues, Members in both Houses - from all sides - as well as the public at large.

The shock of the events of last Monday and the sadness of my resignation have been added to by media intrusion into my private life, reporting as fact a stream of rubbish. Rumour and lies have been asserted as truth.

The whole of my adult life has been pored over for something which could be twisted to suit the present prejudice. Ultimately this arbitrary abuse of power is not just an attack on me, but on our rights.

The right to privacy belongs to all citizens: the victims of crime, even if they are in public life, cannot be excluded from that. We all have rights. We also all have responsibilities, and this applies to the media as well. The media has the right to freedom but it must carry the responsibility to exercise that right judiciously.

In my own childhood I learned a hard lesson at a very early age - you can't allow powerful people to bully the weak or to abuse their own power. How willing will the next victim of a crime be to report it? How eager will people be to stand for public office in the knowledge that one mistake may result in the whole of their lives being picked over and twisted out of all recognition?

How could it improve democracy if our lives, our influences and relationships were laid out for public titillation?

We are what we are. We are all different, the products both of our genes and our experiences.

Members of Parliament are no different from the society we represent.

Since becoming the Labour Party's spokesman for Wales in 1992, the creation of a new democracy for Wales has been a personal commitment and a political responsibility for me.

I know the process I started will go on, creating a more tolerant, more open and mature way of conducting politics. My experience over the last week could not have provided a more vivid demonstration of the need for such a tolerant and undesstanding society.

The support I have received from colleagues, ordinary citizens and indeed the Welsh media reassures me that this vision is widely shared.

Not for the first time in my life, I have been badly beaten and hurt.

I believe that my defences are strong enough to see me through this very trying time. From adversity can of course come strength.That will be so in my present circumstances.

I worked hard to change the face of politics and government in Wales.

I am now more determined than ever o see those changes through.

I am very grateful madam speaker to you and for the attention of the House."





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