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Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK

UK Politics

Bourne nominated for Welsh Tory leadership

Currently "acting" leader Nick Bourne AM

Professor Nick Bourne has submitted his nomination for election to the official leadership of the Welsh Conservative Party following the resignation of Rod Richards.

Mr Bourne was appointed acting leader on Tuesday, prompting the resignation of Mr Richards who had wanted his deputy David Davies to take the post.

Mr Richards had temporarily stood down while he fights an allegation of causing grievous bodily harm to a young woman. He made his resignation permanent when the other Tory Assembly Members rejected his chosen deputy.

[ image: Rod Richards to fight criminal charge]
Rod Richards to fight criminal charge
"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."

Mr Bourne's application needs three backers from among the other Tory AMs to be valid, but his spokesman claimed he already has the signature of five out of the nine members of the group.

The other four are Mr Bourne himself, David Davies who as the chief whip receives the nomination, Rod Richards and William Graham who is in the USA.

The BBC's Simon Morris: "Nick Bourne takes over a party damaged and traumatised by events of the last six days."
The submission of the nomination triggers the opening of nominations for seven days. If none others are received Mr Bourne will be confrimed as official leader next Wednesday.

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.

Assault 'fabrication'

Married with three children, he is charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Cassandra Melvin on 27 July, at Kew in west London.

But he described the assault charge as a "complete fabrication", and vowed to fight it.

The BBC's Caroline Evans looks back at the highs and lows of Rod Richard's colouful career
Mr Bourne's appointment 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, as the AMs chose Mr Bourne, a one-time arch rival of Mr Richards who had been defeated by him in a ballot of Welsh Tory members to elect the leader of the party in Wales.

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