A WELSH Conservative candidate accused of deliberately sabotaging a rape trial has been deselected by his party.

Ross England was giving evidence as a witness in the trial of a male friend when it was halted after he referred to the female victim's previous sexual history against the directions of the judge.

The judge in the case, Stephen Hopkins QC, said Mr England had "single-handedly" and "deliberately" sabotaged the trial at Cardiff Crown Court in April 2018.

On Thursday, the Conservative Party said Mr England's nomination to contest the Vale of Glamorgan seat in the 2021 Welsh Assembly election had been withdrawn.

A party spokesman said: "The Welsh Conservative Candidates Committee convened on January 22, 2020 to consider the evidence in respect of an issue concerning Vale of Glamorgan Assembly candidate Ross England, and concluded that his candidacy should be withdrawn.

"Ross England is therefore no longer a Welsh Conservative candidate."

Former Welsh secretary Alun Cairns stepped down from his cabinet role after it was revealed he had endorsed Mr England as an Assembly candidate eight months after the rape trial was stopped.

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Mr Cairns claimed he was unaware of the role played by Mr England, who had been a staff member in his office, in the aborted trial until after the story broke last October. But a leaked internal email suggested he had been made aware earlier.

A Cabinet Office investigation found Mr Cairns had not breached the ministerial code, but said it was "unlikely" the Vale of Glamorgan MP was not told anything about his former staff member's role.

The defendant in the court case, Mr England's friend James Hackett, was found guilty of rape at a retrial and sentenced to five years in jail.