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Ex-Tory Assembly leader Rod Richards
"The malevolent seven held a kangaroo court and decided to withdraw the whip from me."
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BBC Wales's Rhun ap Iorwerth
"Mr Richards faces disciplinary action from his party."
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Tuesday, 8 February, 2000, 14:43 GMT
Tory AM's 'conspiracy' claim

Rod Richards gives an impromptu press conference Rod Richards gives an impromptu press conference

Former Conservative Assembly leader Rod Richards has accused his successor of "malice" and "political absurdity".

Mr Richards made his bitter attack on Nick Bourne after his fellow Tory AMs withdrew the party whip from him - excluding him from the Assembly's Conservative group.

Having called an impromptu press conference, the former Welsh Office minister said: "It doesn't take a political genius to organise this - but a complete prat."

Assembly Conservative leader Nick Bourne Assembly Conservative leader Nick Bourne

Mr Richards claimed that he was the "real Conservative party" and that the decision to withdraw the whip was part of a wider personal conspiracy against him.

Now also facing expulsion from the party, he went on to say that he did not intend to work under Nick Bourne's leadership again.

The withdrawal of the whip followed Mr Richards' decision to abstain rather than vote with his fellow Conservatives against the Assembly's budget at the end of last year.

The malevolent seven held a kangaroo court and decided to withdraw the whip from me. Why? Why?....Because I abstained on a vote.
Rod Richards AM

In a letter from party leader William Hague, the Tory Assembly group leader Nick Bourne received full backing for Mr Richards to be disciplined.

Mr Hague said Mr Bourne should take "whatever action is necessary" against Mr Richards.

Mr Bourne replaced Mr Richards as party leader after the former Clwyd West MP was arrested in connection with an alleged assault of a woman in London last year.

Because of this failure to play within the team we feel it appropriate to take away the whip
Tory Assembly leader Nick Bourne
He is due to appear for trial on that charge at Kingston Crown Court on 3 April.

At the time of his resignation, he had tried to ensure that David Davies, his political supporter among the Assembly Tory Members, was installed as his successor.

However, the other seven Tory AMs were unhappy with the choice and elected Mr Bourne instead. It is those seven AMs whom Mr Richards has now labelled "the malevolent seven".

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See also:
16 Dec 99 |  Wales
Richards denies assaulting woman
07 Dec 99 |  Wales
Richards rapped for flouting orders

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