Tories keep up the pressure over `Ron-gate' row

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Two more Labour MPs last night joined the row dubbed "Ron-gate" at Westminster over whether Ron Davies, Secretary of State for Wales, threatened the Labour backbencher, Llew Smith with being kicked out of the parliamentary party for campaigning against devolution, writes Colin Brown.

The former minister Ted Rowlands warned that "gagging" was unnecessary. "I see no case for any form of gagging or disciplinary action upon those who will stand by those strongly held views," said the Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP. John Marek, MP for Wrexham, told BBC TV's On The Record the MPs were not delegates. "I will support any colleague, even though I might not agree with them, in their desire and their right to speak out on this issue if they wish."

The Tories are determined to keep Mr Davies under pressure on the issue. Nigel Evans, the party's spokesman on constitutional affairs, said: "Ron- gate is the Government's first test of its rhetoric about `open and honest' government."