Conservatives suspend Welsh candidate accused of deliberately sabotaging rape trial

A Welsh Conservative candidate has been suspended from his party after he was accused of deliberately sabotaging a rape trial.

Ross England (pictured), a former staff member of Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, allegedly caused the trial to be stopped when he referred to the female victim’s previous sexual history while giving evidence in court.

The allegation relates to the April 2018 trial of Mr England’s friend, James Hackett, who was later found guilty of rape after proceedings were restarted.

Labour MP Jo Stevens told the House of Commons on Wednesday that the judge in the case, Stephen Hopkins QC, said Mr England had “single-handedly” and “deliberately” sabotaged the trial at Cardiff Crown Court, after ignoring his instructions not to refer to the woman’s sexual history.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it would be “inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings” when asked by Ms Stevens if he would sack Mr England from the Conservative Party.

Eight months after the judge made his comments, Mr England was selected as the Welsh Conservative’s candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan for the 2021 Welsh Assembly election.

But on Wednesday night the chairman of the Welsh Conservatives, Lord Davies of Gower, said Mr England had been suspended from the party.

Lord Gower said: “Ross England has been suspended pending this matter being presented to the candidates committee.”

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