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BBC Wales's Adrian Browne
"He had hoped to stand for parliament in an English constituency"
 real 28k

Friday, 22 September, 2000, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Rod Richards fails in Westminster comeback
Former Tory minister Rod Richards
Rod Richards will not stand as a Conservative candidate
A former Conservative minister cleared of assaulting a young woman has failed to resurrect his political career at Westminster.

Former Welsh Office minister Rod Richards was cleared in June of punching a 23-year-old woman in the face and breaking her arm.

In a letter to party members Welsh Conservatives chairman Henri Lloyd Davies said: "I can confirm that the Candidates List for the General Election is closed, and contrary to some media reports the name of Rod Richards is not on it."

Conservative Party logo
Party ruling: Name not on list

Mr Richards was reported to his party's ethics and integrity committee earlier this year.

Despite his background in Wales and current job as regional AM for North Wales, Mr Richards was looking for a seat in England.

He has recently successfully fought a bankruptcy petition which would have cost him his seat in the Welsh Assembly.

Better politician

The ex-leader of the Tories in the assembly had believed the scars from his battles would make him a more attractive candidate in his search for a Conservative seat.

"In a perverse way, the experiences of the last 12 months have, I think, made me a better politician in that I am more able to understand the problems that constituents would come to me with," he said.

The decision will come as a bitter blow to Mr Richards career as he made no secret of his views on devolution and his desire to return to Westminster.

Westminster determines policy

"There is no doubt in my mind that given the devolution policy of this government there will be two classes of MP - English MPs and then Welsh and Scottish," he said.

"I never did believe in it. Also politics is about power, the power to change things - and the powers of the assembly are very constrained.

"It is still Westminster that determines the policy down here.

"I will still be a Welshman, but politics is my life and I want to get back to Westminster."

Mr Richards said he has not been informed of the decision and has written to Conservative Central Office asking to clarify his status.

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See also:

18 Aug 00 | Wales
Richards' Tory seat search
23 Jun 00 | Wales
Rod Richards cleared of assault
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