Rival parties have welcomed Alun Cairn’s resignation after being accused of “brazenly lying” about his knowledge of an allegation that a Tory candidate had sabotaged a rape trial.
Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru say the Cabinet minister should now step down as a candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan in the December 12 General Election.
Christina Rees, shadow secretary of state for Wales said: “Alun Cairns stepping down as secretary of state is far from the end of the matter, and is a shoddy halfway house that will fool nobody.
“He has still not explained his behaviour and still not addressed the grave issues raised by the leaked emails yesterday.
“Worse still, neither he nor any senior Welsh Tory have apologised to one person who most deserves it – the victim herself.
“He should do the right thing – apologise, and step down as a candidate.”
Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts said: “I hope that Alun Cairns’ resignation as secretary of state proves to be some solace to the woman at the centre of this case, who still has received no apology from the Conservative Party.
“Mr Cairns’ conduct proved unquestionably that he is not fit to hold ministerial office.
“You simply cannot be complicit in the attempted cover up of sabotaging a rape trial and hope to get away with it.
“Such conduct is neither befitting of a government minister, nor of a member of parliament.
“Mr Cairns should do the honourable thing and withdraw from the election – and if he doesn’t, the Conservative Party should insist he withdraws.”
Labour’s Angela Rayner tweeted: “Cabinet minister quitting just before PM to make his big statement launching election campaign.
“Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns resigns, this Tory Party election start staggers from one crisis to the next.
“Oh for the days of Strong and Stable.”
Paul Davies AM, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said he was “sorry” to see Mr Cairns leave but said it was “the right decision”.
Mr Davies said: “I am sorry to see Alun resign today as the secretary of state for Wales however, under the circumstances this was the right decision for him.
“Alun has rightly stated that he will cooperate fully with any investigations.
“I would like to thank Alun for his service to Wales as our secretary of state where he brought an end to the Severn Bridge Tolls which will leave a lasting legacy on the Welsh economy.”