Alun Cairns has resigned as Wales Secretary following claims he knew about a former aide’s role in the collapse of a rape trial. Cairns said he made the decision to quit ‘in light of continued speculation’ over what he called a ‘sensitive matter’.
Cairns’ former advisor Ross England was condemned by a judge after making claims in court about a rape victim’s sexual history. His remarks led to the trial’s collapse in April 2018. Cairns said he did not know about the case but BBC Wales subsequently reported that the Tory MP was sent an email last year making reference to the trial.
In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Cairns wrote:
‘You will be aware of allegations relating to the actions of a Party employee and candidate for the Welsh Assembly elections in the Vale of Glamorgan.
This is a very sensitive matter, and in light of continued speculation, I write to tender my resignation as Secretary of State for Wales.
I will cooperate in full with the investigation under the Ministerial Code which will now take place and I am confident I will be cleared of any breach or wrong doing.
It has been an honour to serve in your Government and a privilege to see the positive steps you have made in such a short time. Your work to secure a deal to leave the European Union has been extraordinary and the opportunities it brings are exciting for all parts of the country. I thank you for your commitment to the Union and the way in which you have made it central to all areas of government policy.
My experience of seeing your work first hand with Cabinet colleagues gives me confidence for the future. Your vision and drive to move the country forward to meet the opportunities of Brexit and to protect and enhance public services is exemplary.
I will continue to work to support your vision and ambitions for the country and am grateful for the honour of serving in your Cabinet.’
Cairns’ resignation is a major blow to Boris Johnson, coming just hours before the Tories officially launch their electoral campaign.