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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Tory banned from conference
Peter Rogers
Peter Rogers says he has done nothing wrong
A former Conservative assembly member has been barred from his party's Welsh conference.

Peter Rogers, who has been in dispute with the party over selection for the parliamentary Anglesey seat, was turned away on Friday when he tried to get into the annual event in Llandudno, north Wales.

It was the the first time Welsh-born Michael Howard addressed the conference as party leader.

Mr Howard told Conservatives of the "scandal" of the burden on immigration officers, and launched a petition demanding a referendum on the EU constitution.

No stranger to controversy, Mr Rogers, a former north Wales AM, told told BBC Wales he had a call on the eve of the conference telling him he should stay away.

When it comes to transferring power from Britain to Brussels, Tony Blair says 'trust me'. Well, Conservatives say 'trust the people'
Michael Howard
Mr Rogers was devastated when he was excluded from the party's list of prospective candidates.

He said he was "shell-shocked and wounded" at being ranked seventh in the Tory list of candidates for the north Wales regional list at the last assembly election.

But he remained a party member and paid his 10 fee to attend the conference, claiming he could not be banned because he had done nothing wrong.

Michael Howard
Michael Howard grew up in Llanelli

A party spokesman declined to comment.

'One-legged roof tilers'

Inside the conference, Mr Howard challenged Home Secretary David Blunkett over the immigration scam controversy which resulted in the resignation of minister Beverley Hughes.

He said it was a "scandal" that officials had to work "under an intolerable burden", and that sham applications "from one-legged roof tilers, fake electricians and bogus builders - have had to be rubber-stamped."

Mr Howard also launched a petition for a referendum on the EU constitution and claimed the UK Government had been "dishonourable" in its approach to the issue.

He said the constitution was "wrong in principle", and added : "When it comes to transferring power from Britain to Brussels, Tony Blair says 'trust me'. Well, Conservatives say 'trust the people'."

'Botched reform'

Party co-chairman Liam Fox said Labour had no regard for British traditions and institutions, with contempt for the country's history and identity.

"From their botched reform of the Lords to their attitude to country sports, from their planned sellout on a European constitution to ditching the 'crown' from the Crown Prosecution Service, Labour have shown how little interest they have in Britain and how much they have in Labour," said Dr Fox.

Labour saw Britain as a collection of "bite-size chunks" ready to be pushed into a European super-state, he added. Dr Fox went on: "They are truly the most un-British Government we have ever had and Tony Blair has to be the most un-British Prime Minister we have had."

Shadow Welsh Secretary Bill Wiggin told Tories that under Mr Howard, the party had become a "government in waiting".

Mr Wiggin added: "Labour is the party of taxing, spending and failing.

"Labour in Wales think they cannot lose. They are wrong.

"The grip of Labour in Wales is loosening because the people of Wales are fed up with this untrustworthy government."

The Conservatives are unlikely, however, to debate the Richard report on the devolution settlement in Wales.

The report called for more powers for the Welsh assembly when it was published on Wednesday.


SEE ALSO:
Tories launch EU poll campaign
01 Apr 04  |  Politics
Tories set election battle lines
06 Mar 04  |  Politics
Profile: Michael Howard
19 Feb 04  |  Politics
Home town welcome for Howard
06 Dec 03  |  South West Wales
Wiggin wants Cabinet voice
13 Nov 03  |  Wales


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