Minister quit after 'gay sex extortion'

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The Independent Online
RON DAVIES resigned as theSecretary of State for Wales after a man tried to blackmail him by threatening to reveal that he had been looking for gay sex on Clapham Common, it was alleged yesterday.

The Labour MP's initial story to police that he had been stopped on Brixton Hill in south London and "car-jacked" collapsed when he was told the area was covered by closed-circuit television (CCTV) so the recordings would be examined.

Fresh details of the circumstances surrounding Mr Davies's resignation suggest that he stood down after a blackmailer threatened to sell his story to newspapers.

Sources close to one of the six people arrested in connection with the robbery of Mr Davies claim that the MP had stopped his car by Clapham Common last Monday evening and spoken to a man to ask for sex. The man declined but said he could find someone to have sex if he was paid a fee, it is claimed.

The man then got into Mr Davies's car and they drove to nearby Brixton. The source claims that the two men went to the St Matthew's estate. They then got into a lift where they were joined by two other men and Mr Davies was robbed at knifepoint.

Mr Davies was then driven to a cash dispenser but he said he could not remember his identification number. His assailants took his car and left him by the road, it is claimed.

The three men discovered that Mr Davies was a prominent politician after they found his Commons pass in his wallet. Later that evening, Mr Davies was telephoned at home, it is claimed, and told that newspapers would be informed about his encounter on the Common and his car would be set on fire, unless he gave them some money - perhaps as little as pounds 100.

Mr Davies apparently agreed to pay the money but failed to turn up the following day for a meeting on Clapham Common. The blackmailer later tried, but failed, to contact the MP at his office, but was told that he had resigned.

While the full story of Mr Davies's movements are still unclear it appears he first told police he had been car-jacked on Brixton Hill. After detectives said they could check this with the surveillance cameras, he admitted to the meeting on the Common. He claimed he was robbed by two men and a woman.

A man has been charged in connection with robbery on a street that the MP reported as the scene of the alleged crime. Police yesterday arrested a sixth person in connection with the incident.

Detectives plan to question Mr Davies further but are becoming increasingly frustrated at the apparent contradictory evidence emerging.

Detectives will also examine CCTV film of Battersea Park to establish whether Mr Davies, who was reported to have taken a second walk with a stranger before he was robbed, went there on Monday evening last week.

Meanwhile, Mr Davies's hopes of standing as a candidate in next May's Welsh Assembly elections could be dashed by opposition from constituency parties.

One senior Labour source within the Welsh Labour Party said yesterday that despite the large store of sympathy for Mr Davies, it was by no means certain that he would win a nomination. "The difficulties could be fairly considerable," he said.

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