Thursday, November 19, 1998 Published at 18:13 GMT
Davies hints at political comeback
Ron Davies won't rule out attempting to return to high office
Former Welsh secretary Ron Davies, who resigned in abrupt and bizarre circumstances last month, may run to become leader of the Welsh Assembly in the future.
In a newspaper interview, Mr Davies revealed he was still be committed to his political career after being "enormously encouraged" by the strength of support from his constituents and famous figures such as Richard Branson, Diana Ross and Tom Stoppard.
But Ms Ross and Mr Stoppard have denied they ever wrote to the disgraced MP.
Mr Davies resigned from the cabinet last month after a "moment of madness" on Clapham Common where he met a stranger who later allegedly robbed him.
His replacement will be elected in February by a ballot of constituency members as part of an electoral college system.
Mr Davies, speaking to his local Caerphilly newspaper Campaign, said he does not intend to stand in the forthcoming leadership contest.
But he added: "I certainly don't rule out anything for the future."
He said he had been moved by calls from local party members to think again about his decision to step down.
Mr Davies said: "That counts for a lot as these are the people closest to me - over 60 individuals that I've worked with over a period of 15 to 20 years."
The MP also revealed he has received more than 2,000 messages of support. including letters from Virgin boss Richard Branson and Diana Ross.
He said he believed he had not received a single hostile letter or telephone call.
Mr Davies also revealed he had hired a libel lawyer following intensive coverage of the incident.
The former minister also explained why he had written the word 'Sorry' on his hand when interviewed on television after his resignation.
Mr Davies said he had scribbled the note on the back of his hand while he was running through what he would say.
He said: "It was the sort of preparation that anybody does. I didn't take a piece of paper into the interview. I wrote it on my hand. It was a personal prompt."
He repeated his strenuous denial that he had done anything improper or illegal on Clapham Common before he was robbed.
Mr Davies said it was not unusual for him as a politician to engage in conversation with complete strangers: "It's second nature to me".
"I can assure you it's not a mistake I'm going to make again."
Mr Davies used his interview to pay tribute to his wife Christina and daughter Angharad.
Extracts from supportive letters were printed alongside the interview.
The note from Richard Branson said: "Just to say - on behalf of everyone I have talked to at Virgin - how much we are all feeling for you.
"Hopefully - out of the pain you've been through - we can be left with a more caring and understanding society.
"If I can help in any way don't hesitate to be in touch."
Diana Ross wrote: "It is impossible to imagine your hurt, yet I feel it as though it were my own. Life exacts too high a price except from those who are Teflon-coated, but you are one human who did silly human things."
Playwright Tom Stoppard, also among those who wrote, said: "Every exit is an entrance somewhere else. I wish you well with all my heart".
Later, Miss Ross and Tom Stoppard both denied having written to the beleaguered MP.
"Who is he?" demanded Miss Ross, when asked about the alleged correspondence.
Mr Stoppard was also adamant he had not written to the MP, but a spokeswoman explained the quotation in the note was from his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
Richard Branson penned the note after he watched Ron Davies making a personal statement to the Commons.
A Virgin spokeswoman said: "He thought he was very brave.
"Richard believes that if this changes the way people react when they find out that politicians are gay, then he was a very brave man.
"If it changes the way the public - or anyone at all - perceives gay politicians then he thinks it is a good thing."
UK Politics Contents
A-Z of Parliament