The AM for the Rhondda has published an open letter to the UK Prime Minister over the Tory Party’s handling of the collapsed rape trial involving a key party candidate and employee of Alun Cairns.
Leanne Wood AM called on Boris Johnson to re-open the ministerial investigation into Cairns, ensure all relevant witnesses are interviewed and make a referral to the complaints system for MPs.
She also called for the Tories to conduct a full internal party investigation to find out who supported and promoted the one-time Tory Vale of Glamorgan candidate Ross England ‘while dismissing, undermining and belittling the survivor who, in this case, was a Conservative member of staff, to whom the party owed a duty of care.’
She also said Cairns must be forced to give a full and truthful account of his actions in this case as soon as possible. A petition calling for this on Leanne’s website has attracted more than 450 signatures in less than a week.
In her letter to Johnson, Leanne writes: ‘We know you are aware of the allegations against the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, Alun Cairns, that he supported and promoted his friend Ross England as a candidate, as a member of his staff and his campaign manager, when he was aware of the strong likelihood that Mr England had deliberately collapsed a rape trial.
‘When this first came to light, Alun Cairns resigned as Secretary of State for Wales and a ministerial investigation was promised. The election then followed and Alun Cairns was selected by the Conservatives to be their candidate in the Vale Of Glamorgan, despite the fact he had resigned his ministerial position. Alun Cairns was re-elected.
‘The ministerial investigation that followed the election found no evidence to show he knew about the collapsed rape trial before he promoted his friend. It has since transpired that the investigation did not include any discussion with the survivor of the rape.
‘The survivor in this case has been treated appallingly - not just by Alun Cairns - but by the Conservative party as a whole. She has been forced to endure two trials and her rapist is now in prison. The man responsible for the collapse of the first trial went on to be employed by Mr Cairns despite objections from the survivor in the case who was already in Alun Cairns’ staff team.
‘Many women in Wales are unnerved to have an MP who has such a cavalier attitude towards rape and those who have been raped. He takes decisions on our behalf and he has not properly faced or answered the allegations against him.’
Leanne said: “I am appalled at the way that this whole incident has been conducted. It sends out a clear and worrying message to society that rape is not treated seriously by the UK Prime Minister and the party in Government. At a time when rape convictions are so low that some people are questioning whether the offence has decriminalised, we need the Tories to send out a clear message and lead by example. We have not had that yet; not by a long chalk.
“I urge anyone who agrees that the incident has been swept under the carpet for political reasons and feels concerned about the wrong messages being signalled about the seriousness of rape to sign the petition on my website and help us to apply pressure on the Prime Minster and the Tories.”
Anyone wishing to support the petition can sign here: https://www.leannerhondda.wales/letter_borisjohnson