Judge orders suspension of assembly member Nick Ramsay to be lifted

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives has been ordered by a High Court judge to lift the suspension of an Assembly Member pending further legal action.

Nick Ramsay, 44, was suspended from the group after being arrested at his home in Raglan, Usk, Monmouthshire, at around 8pm on New Year's Day.

He was released from custody the following afternoon, with Gwent Police stating that he would face no further action, but his suspension remained.

In an unusual case, Mr Ramsay is suing Paul Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, at the High Court.

At a hearing in Bristol, Judge Jonathan Russen QC ordered for the suspension to be lifted until a trial into the matter takes place in February.

"In my judgement, it is appropriate that he is restored to the membership of the group," the judge said.

The court heard Mr Ramsay was elected to the Welsh Assembly in 2007 and became a member of the Welsh Assembly Conservative Group.

He was arrested by Gwent Police on the evening of 1st January and spent the night in custody in Newport before being released without charge the following day.

At 1.31pm that day, Mr Davies emailed Mr Ramsay to tell him he had "no option" but to suspend him from the Welsh Conservatives group.

Representing Mr Ramsay, David Lock QC said Mr Davies "lacked the power" to do so and had not conformed to the rules of the group's constitution.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Paul Davies suspended Mr Ramsay from the group Credit: PA Images

In a written statement, Mr Ramsay said he was at his "wits' end" and sought the assistance of the High Court to "end the stalemate".

Richard Price QC, representing Mr Davies, asked for an adjournment to prepare for the case as he had been given less than 24 hours' notice.

Mr Price said eight members of the 11-strong assembly group had supported the suspension and it was not the case that Mr Davies had "acted solo".

"The defendant and the other members of the group who are involved in the process are concerned there is a risk, if your lordship were to refuse my application for an adjournment, that this matter would be decided simply on the back of the evidence of the claimant alone," he told the judge.

The judge refused the application for an adjournment and allowed the interim injunction until the case is heard at a three-day trial in February.

He said his ruling did not affect the disciplinary processes of the group.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Ramsay said: "I am disappointed that I had to come to court today to achieve this result.

"However, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue serving my constituents and discharging my public functions."

The trial is due to take place between 19th and 21st February.