Ron Davies to stand as assembly member

Former Welsh secretary Ron Davies, who quit the cabinet after a “moment of madness” on Clapham Common nine years ago, is to stand for the Welsh assembly.

He confirmed today that he will be standing in Caerphilly as an independent candidate, but said he still had the same “left-of-centre” values that first prompted him to join the Labour party four decades ago.

Mr Davies, the former MP for Caerphilly, was Tony Blair’s first secretary of state for Wales but resigned in October 1998 after an incident with a man on Clapham Common in south London. He later famously described it as a “moment of madness”.

He was in line to be the country’s first ‘first minister’ under devolution, having been chosen as Labour’s candidate at a special conference, but quit his post two days after he resigned from the cabinet.

He left parliament at the 2001 elections and was going to stand for the assembly in 2003 but decided against it after press reports that he had visited a well-known cruising area in a motorway lay by. He tried unsuccessfully to become an MEP in 2004.

However, today Mr Davies Western Mail: “All my experience of talking to people tells me that what they are interested in is my views about politics. The only issue of importance is my excellent record as a political representative over 30 years.”

After leaving the Labour party in 2004, the former MP joined the new Forward Wales political party. He was going to stand as their candidate for the assembly but blamed the electoral system for squeezing out small parties.

He also attacked the Labour party, saying: “What has happened over the last ten years is that Labour has been destroyed as a democratic broad-based mass movement and been turned into a ‘top down’ body where individuals at the grassroots have been sidelined.

“As a result, the leadership has had to seek donations from big business leading to favours being done and patronage offered.”

Speaking to BBC’s Good Morning Wales earlier today, he added that he still kept the same values but Labour had “shredded everything it ever believed in”.