The Davies interviews: 'I was involved in no illegal behaviour, none whatsoever...'

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The Independent Online
The following are excerpts from transcripts of Ron Davies's interviews with Glyn Mathias, political editor of BBC Wales, and Max Perkins, political editor of HTV Wales.

Q (BBC): About the events of Monday night, there is a public impression ... that you have only told us half the story, that there is more to tell?

A: I will tell you precisely what happened, if you want. You know the job I was doing as Secretary of State was a very demanding one, both in terms of time and pressure.

I've always sought to get relaxation and a break from the pressures by walking ... I was out walking [on Clapham Common] when an individual got into conversation with me ... he was walking in the same direction.

It was just a casual conversation about walking on the common and it being a nice night ... this individual suggested that perhaps we should have a drink ... and I know at that time I should have seen there was danger. I didn't see that there was danger, and, ultimately, this individual suggested I should go for a drink with two friends of his, a man and a woman, and then perhaps we could go and have a curry or a meal together.

Q: Do you normally go off with strangers?

A: No I don't, I don't. And that's why I have to acknowledge that this incident is bizarre, that I made a gross error of judgement, that I should have realised ... and I should have just extricated myself from that. But I didn't ...

It was a moment of madness, for which I have subsequently paid a very, very heavy price ... and I am deeply, deeply sorry. I realised it has caused enormous embarrassment.

Q: It has been suggested, fairly or unfairly, that you had other motivations ... and that gay sex was one of the motivations?

A: Well, I know that's been suggested. Let me tell you that any suggestion that I was involved ... there have been two suggestions, that either drugs were involved or sex was involved ... let me tell you that neither of those allegations have the slightest shred of truth in them.

Q: Let me pursue that. I mean, are you gay?

A: Well, I'm not going to get into a position of answering that sort of question. I have seen the newspaper headlines and I am appalled at what has been alleged ... I'm not getting involved in a discussion on my private life, because I believe that individuals have a right to privacy.

Q: But this is a central allegation isn't it ... that you are gay and that is what it's all about?

A: No, the central allegation is that I was the victim of a crime.

Q: But I do have to note that you haven't denied that you are gay.

A: What I have done is give you a very full answer.

Q: But it's not full because you haven't denied ...

A: Well, I don't think it's a proper way to go round asking questions of individuals about their private lives ... What I will say to you is that I have a very longstanding, a very deep and a very loving relationship with my wife who has been enormously supportive of me over the last few days. Now I think we should take that as the answer you want.

Q: There is another suggestion that you had initially lied to the police about the precise nature of the incident. Did you do that?

A: No, I certainly haven't done that and I don't know where these allegations have come from. What happened is that I was subject to an assault ... I was driven away from that at knife-point while someone drove off in my car. I went immediately to the police station and I wanted to convey to them that I had been the subject of crime, that I had been robbed and my car taken. I was naturally very, very upset ...

Obviously the account that I gave when I went into the police station was that I had been the subject of an assault, that two people had robbed me, taken my car. When I went back to the police station I was able to give a more considered and fuller account. That's not lying to anyone. ... The newspapers that published that sort of stuff should really be ashamed of themselves.

Q: When you saw the Prime Minister on Tuesday morning was it your idea or his idea that you should resign from the Cabinet?

A: It was my idea. I explained in great detail to the Prime Minister what happened. I had seen what the tabloid press had done to other people in public life ... and I realised there was going to be a feeding frenzy.

Q: Did [the Prime Minister] pressure you to resign from the leadership in Wales?

A: No, no ... I spoke to the Prime Minister several times and I must say he was very, very supportive, very understanding, and I am deeply, deeply grateful for the way he has handled this matter as far as I am concerned.

Q (HTV): But did you at one point want to go on? Your supporters and friends are suggesting that you did and that you wouldn't give up without a fight.

A: Well, I am very grateful for the support they indicated. I certainly wasn't going to give up without considering the matter. On Tuesday morning I had an office of State which I had to decide what to do with. I came to the conclusion very early on that I had to resign ...

The post of First Secretary is a different post; it was a mandate which I had from the party in Wales and was not something which would have expression immediately; I don't have any constitutional functions to perform. And so I did have time to reflect on that. I wanted to talk to people who were close to me and whose opinion and support I have valued over the years. That's what I did.

Q: Can you tell us what happened on Clapham Common? A: Yes I can. I feel very embarrassed about it ... In hindsight, it was absolutely inexcusable. What happened is that I accepted the [man's] invitation and then it wasn't a visit to the pub for a pint. I ended up at the side of the road with a knife at my throat, being robbed and having my car taken from me. I must tell you that it was pretty horrific; it was the first time that I have ever been subjected to that sort of violence.

Q: I am sure it was very unpleasant. But a lot of people will say there was no need to resign.

A: Well, it's a tough old world, and when you're in government you have to accept responsibility. I knew that the newspapers, I hesitate to use the word newspapers, the tabloids and the broadsheets, I knew were going to have a field day. I felt I had an obligation to do the best that I could, to withdraw from government in order to ensure that I could handle those issues myself without damaging the process of government here in Wales and without damaging the image of the Government.

Q: So can you deny categorically that there was gay [sex] or drugs in all this?

A: I can give you an absolute assurance that I was involved in no illegal behaviour, no improper behaviour whatsoever.

Q: What about your future?

A: We have got to take things a stage at a time. This week has been very traumatic. It isn't easy when you're dealing day-to-day with very pressurised, very traumatic events, you can't have a long-term strategy. I deeply regret the embarrassment, the inconvenience and the dismay which has been caused in my own constituency and in the Labour party.

Q: Do you want to carry on in politics, at the moment as MP; do you want to carry on as an Assembly candidate?

A: The attitude of the media has ensured that it was not compatible for me to continue holding those public offices, having been the victim of this particular type of crime.

You wouldn't have to resign as a newspaper reporter if somebody stole your wallet, or a housewife wouldn't have to resign from a part-time job if her home was burgled mid-day while she was out ... but as far as my political future is concerned, my immediate task is to rebuild the links I have with my constituency party and with the people of Caerphilly, who have been enormously supportive this week.

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