The Conservative Party has suspended election candidate Ross England after a judge accused him of “deliberately sabotaging” a rape trial.
England - a former aide to Cabinet Minister Alun Cairns - was giving evidence in the trial of his friend James Hackett, who’d been accused of rape when he claimed the victim had taken part in group sex – expressly contrary to the Judge’s ruling any information about the victim’s alleged sexual past inadmissible, as it wasn’t relevant to the case.
Wow. Constituents in #ValeOfGlamorgan deserve better than this.@AlunCairns did you endorse @RossEngland knowing a judge had accused him of attempting to sabotage a rape trial?— Sally Stephenson🇪🇺 (@Sally_CF71) October 29, 2019
Do @Conservatives @WelshConserv @VoGConservative really think he‘s fit to stand for public office? https://t.co/wOdU4jj5Y5
“Why did you say that? Are you completely stupid?’ ‘You have managed, singlehandedly, and I’ve no doubt it was deliberate on your part, to sabotage this trial… As far as you’re concerned, this matter isn’t ended. I’ll be writing personal letters to people who are politically close to you and I hope they take appropriate action. Get out of my court,” the justice fulminated.
The trial at Cardiff Crown Court was suspended, but Hackett was found guilty at a retrial and jailed for five years.
Jo Stevens, Labour MP for Cardiff Central, said both England and the secretary of state who endorsed him as a candidate “have serious questions to answer”, while former Conservative leadership candidate Stephen Crabb said “clearly someone needs to look into it”.
“I don’t know all the details but clearly there needs to be some kind of process to look at these allegations and make a decision about it. With cases like this, it’s really important for the party in London and Cardiff to show it’s got a clear process for handling complaints,” he added.
Speaking to BBC Wales, the victim said it was “completely shocking” England “would stand up in court and say these things, given they are untrue”.
“For him to just blurt that out, proves to me it was a formulated plan that he and whoever else conjured to try and derail the trial,” she lamented.
England has now been suspended by party bosses, with a spokesperson for Alun Cairns saying the Minister hadn’t been informed of the court controversy.
“This is a matter for the individual, as he was not employed by Cairns at the point of case collapse or at his subsequent selection,” they added.
Francesca O'Brien, Tory, selected last month to stand in the target constituency of Gower, doesn't like people on benefits. She thinks they should be put down. Admittedly, that would be quicker than slowly starving to death on UC or freezing this winter. pic.twitter.com/UZSKjuchaM— Paul (@PaulOnBooks) November 3, 2019
England isn’t the only Conservative hopeful in hot water presently – Francesca O'Brien, who’s running in the Gower constituency in December's election, has been forced to make a public apology after stating on social media in January 2014 that welfare claimants needed “putting down”.
She made the comments after viewing Channel 4's controversial Benefits Street programme –O’Brien said her comments were made "off the cuff" but admitted her "use of language was unacceptable". She’s still set to run in the general election 12th December.