`Dangerous' Davies should quit, say senior Labour officials

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The Independent Online
THE POLITICAL future of former cabinet minister Ron Davies hung in the balance last night after senior Labour Party officials publicly called on him to quit his post in the Welsh Assembly.

Jim Hancock, chairman of the Wales Labour Party, said that Mr Davies' recent admissions of his "compulsive" sexual behaviour had "damaged" the standing of the Assembly as a whole. Mr Hancock said last night that the former Welsh Secretary should resign his post of chairman of the Assembly's economic development committee. One of the most powerful Labour figures in the principality, Mr Hancock told BBC Wales' Wales Today programme that the last two weeks of revelations and admissions both about and by Mr Davies meant it was time for him to step down.

He was backed up by Brian Curtis, the treasurer of the Wales Labour Party, who told the programme that he was sure that the Caerphilly MP would make a decision that was "in the long-term interests of the party". Mr Davies was forced to resign as Welsh Secretary last year after he confessed to a "moment of madness" in picking up a man on Clapham Common. Senior party figures in Cardiff underlined the move to force Mr Davies to quit when they claimed that sympathy was fading fast for the man credited as the architect of devolution in Wales.

Although Mr Davies has claimed that he can continue in his post despite his admissions, Labour officials are understood to be furious at reports of his behaviour in tabloid newspapers. One newspaper showed the MP emerging from an encounter with undercover reporters in a wood near his home in Draethen, Mid Glamorgan, that is known as a gay cruising spot. Following the reports, Mr Davies admitted he was bisexual and in an interview this weekend he revealed that he was undergoing psychiatric treatment for his "compulsive" need for risk taking.

"The bisexual influence has been an element in some of the risk situations I have found myself in. This, together with other impulses, has put me in places where I have been at risk," he said. A senior Labour insider said yesterday that it was time for Mr Davies to end the damaging effect caused by his case on the Assembly.

"It's the last thing we need for the Assembly. For how long are we going to put up with these gradual revelations? Each week he concedes a little more...," he said.