MP faces sack over attack on Prince Charles

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The Independent Online
COLIN BROWN

Labour Party leader Tony Blair was last night resisting pressure to sack his Shadow Welsh Secretary after Ron Davies revealed his republican sympathies and said the Prince of Wales was not fit to become King.

Speaking on BBC Wales on 2's Welsh Lobby programme yesterday, Mr Davies, MP for Caerphilly, said he did not think that the Prince was a person who the majority of people in Britain would look up to and respect.

Mr Davies, who had toured Wales with Mr Blair to mark St David's Day, was forced to recant his remarks in a humiliating retreat and said: "My comments on the effect on the monarchy of the troubles faced by the Prince and the Princess of Wales were wrong and I will be writing to Prince Charles to apologise."

His apology was dismissed as "not enough" by senior Tory figures, who were determined to force Mr Blair onto the defensive after a days of difficulty for the Government over the Scott arms-to-Iraq affair.

The Tory clamour for Mr Davies's resignation was led by William Hague, the Secretary of State for Wales, and his predecessor, John Redwood. "The apology does not go far enough. It doesn't put right the fact that we have a republican sitting in a Shadow Cabinet that says it supports the monarchy," said Mr Redwood.

The former Secretary of State for Wales questioned how Mr Davies could work with the Prince of Wales if he ever became Secretary of State for the principality. "I think he should go. Mr Blair has made very clear he doesn't want Labour to be a republican party. And yet here is a prominent member making these statements apparently unaware it was Shadow Cabinet policy."

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