British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s minister for Wales Alun Cairns resigned on Wednesday, the first official day of the general election campaign, after being accused of lying about his knowledge of an aide who allegedly sabotaged a rape trial.
Cairns said last week he had been unaware that the aide had given evidence which led to the collapse of the case.
However, the BBC reported this week that Cairns was emailed about the matter in August 2018 and later endorsed the aide as a candidate for the devolved Welsh assembly.
“This is a very sensitive matter and in the light of continued speculation, I write to tender my resignation as Secretary of State,” Cairns said in a letter to Johnson.
“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 wrongdoing.”
Johnson thanked Cairns for his work as minister.
The Conservative campaign had already started badly before Cairns’ resignation.
On Tuesday, minister Jacob Rees-Mogg was forced to apologise for implying that victims of the blaze at London’s Grenfell Tower, which killed 71 people, should have used common sense to ignore firefighters’ instructions to stay in the burning building until help arrived.
On Wednesday, the party was accused of putting out a doctored video clip of a television interview with a senior Labour politician.