Ross England: Tories 'must take suspension seriously'

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Ross England in Barry
Image caption,
Ross England was selected to stand for the Welsh Conservatives for the 2021 assembly election

The Welsh Conservatives must take comments a judge made about a Welsh Assembly candidate "incredibly seriously", a former MP has said.

Ross England was suspended from the party on Wednesday after it emerged his conduct in a rape trial led to its collapse.

Former Cardiff North MP Craig Williams said the party had done the "right thing" in suspending Mr England.

He added the party must use "due diligence" in its investigations.

Mr England was suspended by the Welsh Conservatives as its candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan seat in the 2021 Welsh Assembly elections.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Craig Williams was MP for Cardiff North between 2015 and 2017

Judge Stephen John Hopkins QC said Mr England's conduct was a "deliberate sabotage" in the April 2018 trial of a friend accused of rape, after he made reference to the sexual history of the complainant.

Eight months later Mr England was selected as a Tory candidate.

Mr Williams, who will stand in the 2019 general election for the party in Montgomeryshire, said: "I think the party has done the right thing in suspension and I think the candidates committee now need to look at this very carefully.

Media caption,

A rape victim says Ross England had a "formulated plan" to wreck the trial of her attacker

"It's very, very hard reading and listening to what the judge said in that and we'll have to look at it very, very seriously but I think we should take time and the party should follow the process.

"We need to do it with due diligence but we need to take what's been said incredibly seriously."