Wednesday, September 1, 1999
Published at 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
UK: Wales: AMs
North Wales Region
Date of Birth -
March 12, 1947.
Place of Birth -
September 6, 1975, Elizabeth, daughter of Vernon and Margaret Knight (2 sons 1 daughter).
Ysgol Dewi Sant.
University College of Wales, Swansea (BSc Hons Economics and Statistics).
Economic Forecaster 1975-77.
Intelligence Officer, MoD 1976-83.
Journalist and Broadcaster, BBC Wales 1983-89.
Director, CSD Ltd 1986-87 and 1989-90.
Political Adviser to Rt Hon. David Hunt, MP.
Contested Carmarthen 1987 General Election and Vale of Glamorgan 1989 By-Election.
MP for Clwyd North West 1992-97.
Contested Clwyd West 1997 General Election.
AM for the Region of Wales North since May 6, 1999.
Leader, Welsh Conservative Party 1999-August 1999.
The former leader of the Conservatives in the Assembly stood at the elections as both a constituency candidate, in his old Westminster seat of Clwyd West, and also as a list candidate.
He lost narrowly to Labour's Alun Pugh in the first instance, but was elected to the Assembly thanks to the proportional representation system which ensured him a North Wales list seat. He was the first AM to be sworn in, so is technically “Father of the Assembly”. He sits on the European Affairs Committee.
Mr Richards was previously the Westminster MP for Clwyd North West, but lost the seat at the 1997 General Election. He was a PPS at the Foreign office, then a Welsh Office minister, but resigned that post after allegations about his private life.
The former Royal Marine officer, MOD employee and Welsh-language broadcaster has earned a reputation as a combative politician, and has courted the antagonism of both Labour and Plaid Cymru opponents. He was dubbed “the Rottweiler”.
Mr Richards was elected leader of the Tories in Wales, in a contest with Nick Bourne, by a ballot of all the Welsh members. His tenure was short-lived. He resigned temporarily in August 1999, when he was charged with causing grievous bodily harm to a young woman, and made his resignation permanent when his fellow Tory AMs rejected his choice of deputy leader, David Davies. He was subsequently cleared of the assault charge at a trial at Kingston crown court.
His replacement as Welsh leader, Nick Bourne, did not give Mr Richards a portfolio in his August 25 reshuffle, leaving him as the only Welsh Tory backbencher.
He was born in Llanelli and enjoys rugby. His wife Liz is a psychologist.
Welsh Assembly Election of May 6, 1999 North Wales Region