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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 19:37 GMT
Davies attacks 'false sex slurs'
Headline allegations in The Sun
The Sun's headlines were "very unpleasant", Mr Davies said
Former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies has attacked a national newspaper for claiming he was involved in a gay sex act at a public beauty spot.

In an article in The Sun, a man identified only as 48-year-old builder John - not his real name - claimed the Welsh Assembly Member for Caerphilly engaged in a sexual act in woodlands near Bath on Monday morning.

But Mr Davies - who recently became a father for the second time - has told BBC Wales that he was 50 miles away, travelling to London at the time of the alleged incident.

And, despite The Sun newspaper saying it stands by its story - and promising more photographs on Wednesday - Mr Davies has said he has proof that he was not at the spot in question at the time mentioned.

Ron Davies at his wedding to Lynne Hughes
Mr Davies remarried last summer, and is now a father again
He claims he has a credit card receipt from a motorway service station on the M4, as well as other evidence.

Speaking live on Wales Today on Tuesday, he described the newspaper stories as "very unpleasant and very distressing".

And, he added : "I don't know why the tabloid newspapers seem to take so much pleasure in recounting all these lurid tales."

Mr Davies, 57, said he had not considered giving up his political career, and suggested that legal action might follow The Sun's story.

"I have not thought of resigning - why should I?", he asked BBC Wales political editor David Williams.

And he concluded : "There are prospects here of very, very substantial libel actions."

Mr Davies had been quick to respond to the accusations earlier in the day.

"There is no substance in this whatsever," he told Radio Wales.

Receipt

"The first I heard about it was yesterday afternoon. I had a phone call late afternoon to put to me that I had been involved in a confrontation of a photographer in Bath."

Denying he was in Bath at any stage on Monday, Mr Davies added: "I left my home in Caerphilly at 0930GMT yesterday morning. I have a receipt showing that I bought 30 worth of petrol from a service station in Berkshire.

"Then by 1145GMT I was booked into a secure car park by security in central London.

"To do the journey in two-and-a-quarter hours was pretty good. Apart from getting petrol, I didn't stop until I got to London.

Mr Davies said he then went onto to attend a speaking engagement, which is when he got a phone call from a newspaper journalist.

When asked for his reaction to the allegations, Welsh Secretary Peter Hain said: "I've read the reports and I've read his denials and I don't know any more than that about it so I can't comment.

"I can't comment any further without knowing the facts of the situation."

This is not the first time Ron Davies has found himself the subject of unwelcome tabloid headlines.

In 1998, he resigned from his post as secretary of state for Wales following a "moment of madness" on Clapham Common.

The phrase has become synonymous with events leading to his resignation. Mr Davies said he met a stranger as he strolled in south London and accepted a dinner invitation.

He said he agreed to go for a meal when he was robbed at knifepoint. A man was arrested and charged with robbery but the charge was later dropped.

Having been dubbed the "architect of Welsh devolution", he stood down as Welsh secretary the following day.

Soon after he also stood down as leader of the Wales Labour party. That led to a leadership contest between Alun Michael and the current First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

Mr Davies later announced he was bisexual and had had psychiatric treatment for a compulsive disorder which attracted him to high-risk situations.

In this latest furore, a newspaper photographer said he caught Mr Davies and the builder at the Tog Hill picnic area - eight miles north of Bath - following a tip-off.

With regard to the picture published alongside the report, Mr Davies said the photographs published in the paper could have been taken in woodlands close to where he walks his dogs every day.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Ron Davies AM
"I haven't thought of resigning - why should I?"



SEE ALSO:
Ron Davies confirms bisexuality
13 Jun 99 |  Europe
My 'moment of madness'
31 Oct 98 |  Politics


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