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Friday, 23 June, 2000, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
A colourful and controversial character
Rod Richards and Nick Bourne
Rod Richards lost the Tory leadership to Nick Bourne
Rod Richards first came to public prominence as a Welsh-language newsreader for the BBC in the 1980s.

Prior to that he spent time in the Royal Marines and served at least part of his time in Northern Ireland.


Rod Richards in the Commons
He was forced to apologise in the Commons
He stood unsuccessfully in Carmarthen in 1987 and again two years later in the Vale of Glamorgan by-election.

He took Clwyd North West in 1992 and was constituency MP until 1997.

Llanelli-born Mr Richards was also Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Welsh Office from 1994 until 1996, when he was forced to resign as a minister after allegations of an extra-marital affair.

He served as a special adviser to David Hunt during his time as Welsh Secretary.


Former Welsh Secretary John Redwood
John Redwood apologised for Mr Richards' comments
In the Commons, his combative style got him in trouble with the Speaker, Betty Boothroyd, for shouting 'liar' at Neath MP Peter Hain. He was forced to apologise to both Mr Hain and Ms Boothroyd.

And his boss, Welsh Secretary John Redwood, was forced to apologise on his behalf when he called Labour councillors "short, fat, slimy and corrupt".

He lost his parliamentary seat in the 1997 General Election to the Labour landslide.

Although defeated in his constituency seat during the National Assembly elections in 1999, he gained a seat as lead candidate on the Conservative party's regional list.

He was the first AM to be sworn in on May 10, becoming 'Father of the House'.


Rod Richards AM
He attacked the Tory group after his suspension
He convincingly beat law professor Nick Bourne in a party-wide ballot to become leader of the Conservatives in the Assembly.

Once in the Assembly, he called it a "pussycat's parlour."

"If this is to be the shop window of Wales, wake up, get up, stand up and say what you really believe and what you really think," he told fellow AMs.

He handed over leadership of the party to former leadership opponent Mr Bourne when he resigned last August following allegations of assault.

He was suspended from the Assembly Conservative group in February for breaking party discipline. He called the group meeting that suspended him '"a kangaroo court".

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See also:

08 Feb 00 | Wales
Tory AM's 'conspiracy' claim
29 Sep 99 | Wales
Richards denies GBH
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