Alun Cairns

Alun Cairns has refused to answer questions on when he knew about the collapse of a rape trial caused by his former aide, in his first interview since the story broke.

Mr Cairns resigned as Welsh Secretary on Wednesday.

The Conservative Vale of Glamorgan candidate told BBC Wales he is “determined to clear his name”.

His former aide was selected as an assembly candidate eight months after the trial collapsed.

Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats have called for Mr Cairns to quit as general election candidate.

In evidence to the trial in April 2018 Mr England made comments which led to the crown court judge responsible accusing him of sabotaging the case.

Mr Cairns had denied he knew about the trial’s collapse until last week, but resigned after BBC Wales obtained an email addressed to him discussing the case.

Asked how he reconciled the differences between the statements, Mr Cairns said: “This is a highly sensitive situation, and I’ve taken this seriously throughout. The party has made a statement that has expressed sympathy to the victim. That is something I would absolutely fully support and of course suspension of Ross England as the candidate.

“Now it’s important to realise that I had nothing, no association in anyway with the trial and that I’ve stood aside as the Secretary of State for Wales in order to give the cabinet office the space they need to fully look at all of the facts so they can come to a conclusion and a judgement.

“I’m keen to get on with the campaign of the general election. Of course people will judge all of the facts rather than trial by media.”

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