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Tuesday, October 26, 1999 Published at 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK


UK: Wales

Ron Davies' annus horribilis

Reviving Wales's economy has become Ron Davies's political goal

The political career of former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies has passed through several hoops in the year since his "moment of madness" on Clapham Common.

Acclaimed as the "architect of devolution" in Wales and set to lead the nation into a new political era, the destiny of Mr Davies altered forever on 26 October, 1998.

The Welsh minister said he had met a man on the south London common and 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.


[ image: How one newspaper reported Mr Davies's 'error of judgement']
How one newspaper reported Mr Davies's 'error of judgement'
Mr Davies resigned as Welsh Secretary after admitting a "lapse of judgement" and his political future seemed in doubt.

He bounced back when he successfully won the National Assembly seat for Caerphilly in May this year, following strong backing from his constituency party.

Dramatically denied a position in Alun Michael's cabinet, he re-directed his energies towards the important role of chairing the Assembly's economic development committee.

That role only lasted for three highly charged meetings before he was forced to resign, after admitting he was bisexual and undergoing treatment for a compulsive disorder.

The disclosure followed a Sunday tabloid story about an alleged incident in woods near his south Wales home at Caerphilly.

Mr Davies quickly returned with a key address on one of Wales's most important challenges - securing and managing European Objective One regeneration aid.

'Credibility test'

The Assembly faced a "crucial test of credibility" on the issue, he warned.

Mr Davies said the effectiveness of a devolved Wales would be judged on the Assembly's efforts to gain maximum match funding from London towards the £1.3bn Objective One package.

"The expectations of the Welsh people are high and the pressure is on the Assembly to deliver," said Mr Davies.

After an extraordinary year of events, he has become a committed watchdog on the Labour backbenches seeking to ensure the best economic deal for Wales.





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