A rape victim has urged cabinet minister Alun Cairns to quit after his former aide “sabotaged” her trial.
Welsh secretary Alun Cairns’ former aide, Ross England, made claims about the victim’s sexual history – that she denied – that led to the trial’s collapse in April 2018.
The judge said England, whose friend James Hackett was accused of the rape, had managed to “sabotage” the trial.
Cairns had denied knowledge of the matter, and later backed England’s candidacy as a Welsh Assembly member for the Vale of Glamorgan.
The Conservatives last week “categorically” stated that Cairns was “completely unaware of the details of the collapse of this trial until they became public”.
But the BBC now reports that it has seen an email sent to the minister in August 2018 about the matter.
Cairns’ special adviser, Geraint Evans, sent the email to the minister on 2 August, with Welsh Conservatives director Richard Minshull copied in.
The email read: “I have spoken to Ross and he is confident no action will be taken by the court.”
The victim, who worked for the Conservative Party, said Cairns should “absolutely” resign.
She told the BBC: “If he’d come out and condemned Ross [England] in the first instance, he wouldn’t be in this position.
“I would like an apology from the party and Alun Cairns for selecting him in the first place. I can’t believe that not one senior Welsh Conservative has said that what he did was wrong.”
England had told the court he had had a casual sexual relationship with the victim, something she denies. This was despite the judge ruling that evidence of her sexual history was inadmissible.
Stephen John Hopkins QC replied: “Why did you say that? Are you completely stupid?
“You have managed single-handed, and I have no doubt it was deliberate on your part, to sabotage this trial… get out of my court.”
England, who stood as a Welsh Assembly candidate, later said he had given an “honest answer” at Hackett’s trial. Hackett was found guilty at a retrial and sentenced to five years in prison.
While Judge Hopkins said he would write personal letters “to people who are politically close to you”, Cairns said he did not receive any correspondence about the case.
He later endorsed England’s run as a Welsh Assembly candidate after his selection in December 2018.
England was suspended as a candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan and as an employee last week. The party is now set to launch a full investigation.
One Welsh Conservatives source told the BBC that Cairns should resign.
“I can’t really see how he [Mr Cairns] can possibly carry on – the toxic nature of these revelations could bring down the whole Conservative campaign in Wales,” they said.
“If he did have any decency he’d put the party and country first and resign.”