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Welsh secretary Alun Cairns quits cabinet over aide’s rape case ‘sabotage’

Under pressure: Alun Cairns resigned as Welsh secretary yesterday PICTURE: AP

WELSH secretary Alun Cairns resigned from the cabinet yesterday after being accused of ‘brazenly lying’ over knowing about an allegation that a former aide had sabotaged a rape trial.

Mr Cairns became the first cabinet minister to quit during an election campaign in more than 100 years.

Last night he faced calls to stand down as a candidate. Christina Rees, shadow secretary of state for Wales, said: ‘Alun Cairns stepping down as secretary of state is far from the end of the matter. He should do the right thing — apologise and step down as a candidate.’

Mr Cairns’s former aide Ross England was suspended as a Welsh Assembly candidate after his claims about a rape victim’s sexual history scuppered the trial of friend James Hackett in 2018.

Mr Cairns said he was unaware of Mr England’s role until last week. But BBC Wales claims he was sent an email about the court events before Mr England was chosen as a candidate.

Tory former minister steps down as an MP

EX-CULTURE minister Ed Vaizey will not stand in the election. The Tory (pictured), who had the party whip restored after being kicked out for helping efforts to block a no-deal Brexit, has been Wantage MP since 2005. He said he had decided to focus his energies on the arts, creative industries and tech.