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Nick Ramsay won’t be Welsh Conservative candidate for Senedd election in May

Former Welsh Conservative leadership contender Nick Ramsay will not be his party’s candidate in May’s Senedd election, it has been confirmed.

Members of his local party in Monmouth, which he has represented for 14 years, have instead selected Monmouthshire council leader Peter Fox.

Mr Ramsay had been put on a shortlist of three for the nomination but pulled out an hour before the selection meeting, which was held over Zoom.

At the Senedd election Councillor Fox will start as the strong favourite in what is regarded as a safe Tory seat.

Mr Ramsay has had a fraught relationship with his local party for some time and last November a majority voted to deselect him.

Before the deselection meeting went ahead he began legal proceedings to stop it happening but he withdrew his application for an injunction before the case was heard at the High Court in Bristol.

Grassroots members had been infuriated by a letter sent by Mr Ramsay’s solicitor which suggested they may have to pay his costs. The judge said Mr Ramsay’s case had no merit and ordered him to pay legal costs totalling £25,080.

He failed to meet the deadline for payment in December and next week Monmouth Conservative Association will return to court asking for enforcement action to be taken against the MS, which theoretically could entail his being sent to prison.

Mr Ramsay has stated previously that he does not understand what he did wrong to deserve deselection.

On Wednesday evening Cllr Fox and Bridgend councillor Carolyn Webster were chosen by the association’s executive committee from six applicants to make up the shortlist with Mr Ramsay.

Cllr Fox got more than 50% of the votes on the first ballot, demonstrating that he was the runaway favourite to win the nomination.

In 2011 Mr Ramsay stood to be leader of the Welsh Conservative group at what was then the National Assembly but he was defeated by Andrew RT Davies, who recently returned as leader.

He subsequently served as shadow finance minister and as chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

In 2016 Mr Ramsay, who before being elected to the then National Assembly worked for former Tory group leader Nick Bourne, had a majority of more than 5,000 over the second-placed Labour candidate.

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