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Thursday, July 1, 1999 Published at 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK


UK Politics

Row over challenge for Davies' post

Ron Davies: Quit the committee post after newspaper revelations

Labour is insisting no-one is allowed to challenge its choice of candidate to replace Ron Davies as chairman of a National Assembly's committee.

The party has dismissed moves by opposition members to put forward Wrexham's Labour AM John Marek for the powerful job left vacant by the resignation of the former Welsh secretary.


[ image: Andrew Davies: No backing down]
Andrew Davies: No backing down
Labour said it was only the assembly's Business Secretary, Andrew Davies, who could table the motion nominating the replacement chairman.

Since the Labour group on Wednesday unanimously voted to nominate Val Feld, there would be no backing down, it said.

The motion to nominate Swansea East AM Val Feld should be on the assembly's agenda for next week. A Labour spokesman said the only way her appointment could be blocked was through a majority vote against that motion, and he was confident that would not happen.

Opposition favours Marek

Opposition sources have confirmed that they would prefer Dr Marek in one of the assembly's most significant chairmanships.

It could go to a vote in the chamber in the week after next, which might lead to Labour's minority ruling group being defeated.


[ image: Val Feld: Labour's favoured candidate]
Val Feld: Labour's favoured candidate
Dr Marek has been the most rebellious Labour member, and spoke out against the treatment of Mr Davies which led to his resignation on Wednesday.

He walked out of a Labour group meeting at which Mr Davies was asked to explain his newspaper revelations about his private life.

Mr Davies, the former secretary of state for Wales, and the man widely seen as the architect of Welsh devolution, resigned his Cabinet post after his much-publicised "moment of madness" on Clapham Common.

Political comeback

He staged a political comeback by being elected to the assembly for Caerphilly, the constituency he represents at Westminster, and by being given the chairmanship of the powerful economic development committee.

However, he quickly came under pressure to quit that post after repeated newspaper allegations about his private life.

Most recently, he told a Sunday newspaper that he was bisexual, was driven to seek high-risk situations, and was receiving psychiatric treatment. On Wednesday, he announced he was resigning the chairmanship.

That left the minority Labour administration in the assembly with the task of finding a successor, and Val Feld emerged as the favoured candidate until the possibility of Dr Marek being a challenger was brought up.

Dr Marek, who is also MP for Wrexham, was Labour spokesman on treasury and economic affairs from 1987-92.



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