Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Welsh Tory leader resigns
Rod Richards leaves the meeting after only 10 minutes
Rod Richards has resigned as the leader of the Conservative Party in Wales.
"I asked the Tory group to endorse my appointment of David Davies," he said.
"They did not do so. I therefore feel my authority as leader has been undermined and I have no alternative but to resign.
His announcement followed the news that Nick Bourne has been made the new acting leader of the Tory members of the National Assembly for Wales.
The decision was taken after Tory members rejected Rod Richards' choice - 29-year-old Monmouth AM David Davies.
They said they believed Mr Davies was "too inexperienced".
It was over the weekend that Mr Richards "stepped aside" from the leadership following allegations of assault made against him by a 22-year-old woman.
Married with three children, he is charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Cassandra Melvin on 27 July, at Kew in west London.
The appointment of Mr Bourne as acting leader was made at a Conservative party meeting in Cardiff, just hours before Mr Richards' resignation.
Mr Richards spent only 10 minutes at the gathering, emerging to say he had once again asked AMs to back Mr Davies as deputy leader. He had, he said, left the decision with them.
But it was to be a decision that would lead to his resignation.
Shortly after members issued a statement saying that Nick Bourne - one of the Tories' regional list members of the Assembly - had been appointed the new acting leader.
Mr Bourne was a one-time arch rival of Mr Richards, having been defeated by him in a ballot of Welsh Tory members to elect the leader of the party in Wales.
Rejection of no confidence
He has also vowed to work with the new leadership, denying he has "snuggled up" to any particular faction.
"I will work with anyone to the best of my ability, The important thing is the party is well led," said Mr Davies.
He added: "I hope that Rod Richards will clear his name. When that has happened, I do not know what the situation will be."
Jonathan Evans, Welsh Tory MEP, said Mr Richards now had to concentrate on matters away from the political arena.
"He faces a serious situation and the whole focus has to relate to those legal proceedings," he said.
"It is not something that should be decided by the newspapers, but by the courts."
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