/UK Cabinet minister quits in rape trial ‘sabotage’ row

UK Cabinet minister quits in rape trial ‘sabotage’ row

Britain’s Wales Secretary Alun Cairns has resigned from government | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

Alun Cairns previously denied knowledge of his former aide’s involvement.

LONDON — U.K. Cabinet minister Alun Cairns on Wednesday resigned in a major blow for Boris Johnson on the first official day of the election campaign.

The minister for Wales stood down after his former aide and candidate for the Welsh Assembly was accused of having “sabotaged” a rape trial.

“This is a very sensitive matter, and in light of continued speculation, I write to tender my resignation as secretary of state for Wales,” Cairns said in a letter to the prime minister.

Johnson responded: “I am pleased to hear that you will cooperate fully with the Cabinet Office during this process.”

Cairns’ former aide Ross England made claims about the sexual history of the victim in an April 2018 rape trial, which led to the trial’s collapse. The judge in the case said it was a deliberate attempt to “sabotage” the trial.

Cairns denied knowing about England’s actions before endorsing him as a candidate for the Welsh Assembly later the same year, but BBC Wales said it had obtained an email sent to him which discussed the issue.

England was suspended as a candidate for the Vale of Glamorgan last week.

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