FORMER Vale MP and UK cabinet minister Alun Cairns has quit his cabinet role following claims he knew about a former aide’s role in the “sabotage” of a rape trial.

But it has been confirmed that Mr Cairns will still remain as the Conservative candidate, for the position of Vale of Glamorgan MP, when residents go to the polls in the UK general election on Thursday, December 12.

Welsh secretary Alun Cairns said he hadn’t known Tory assembly candidate Ross England had made claims about the victim’s sexual history in the April 2018 trial.

But information leaked to BBC Wales said Mr Cairns had received an emailed concerning the matter in August 2018.

The email was sent four months before Mr England was selected as the Vale of Glamorgan Welsh assembly candidate.

The Tory minister said he became aware of Mr England’s role in the trial’s collapse only recently.

In his letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, Mr Cairns said: “You will be aware of allegations relating to the actions of a party employee and candidate for the Welsh assembly elections in the Vale of Glamorgan.

“This is a very sensitive matter, and in light of continued speculation, I write to tender my resignation as secretary of state for Wales.

“I will co-operate in full with the investigation under the Ministerial Code which will now take place and I am confident I will be cleared of any breach or wrong doing.”

In his letter, responding to Mr Cairns’ resignation, prime minister Boris Johnson, said he was “extremely grateful” for the work Mr Cairns had done as Welsh secretary since 2016.

Johnson said: “I would like to put on record for all the support you have given to this government in ensuring we honour the commitment to the people that we leave the European Union. Given your long service as secretary of state, you can be proud of your record of delivery for the people of Wales, in particular in ensuring the abolition of tolls on the Severn Bridges.

“This follows an unstinting record of service to the Party in Wales over a decade as Assembly Member for South Wales West where you were a vocal critic of the Welsh Labour government.”

Paul Davies AM said he was sorry to see Mr Cairns resign as the Secretary of State for Wales.

“Under the circumstances this was the right decision for him,” he said. "Alun has rightly stated that he will cooperate fully with any investigations.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds said: “I welcome Alun Cairns’ resignation as it is clear he is not fit to represent Wales.”

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts had called for Mr Cairns to resign as Welsh Secretary and withdraw as a general election candidate.

Ms Saville Roberts said: “The revelation that Alun Cairns knew about Ross England’s role in this case before endorsing him as a candidate shows that Mr Cairns is unfit to hold public office. At worst, Mr Cairns is complicit in the attempted cover-up of his former staff member’s actions which collapsed a rape trial. At best, he has displayed gross incompetence in judgment, dishonesty and a lack of leadership. These recent events show he is not fit to represent the Vale of Glamorgan in Westminster either.”

Shadow Welsh secretary Christina Rees 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. 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.”