Blair laughed then worried about minister’s cruising
It has emerged that Prime Minister Tony Blair laughed when first told that Welsh Secretary Ron Davies had been mugged while cruising on Clapham Common in 1998.
However, after another gay revelation he started to worry that his government’s image might be damaged.
Alistair Campbell, the former Prime Minister’s communications chief, published a bowdlerised version of his diaries yesterday, called The Blair Years.
He reveals Tony Blair’s reaction when told of Mr Davies’ activities.
“We took him (Blair) into the dining room and told him what we knew.
“He looked surprised but not shocked and then, as I had, laughed. ‘Bloody hell’ he said.”
Mr Davies has always claimed that he was merely walking on the Common to get some fresh air when a man approached him.
Davies resigned, telling the Prime Minister very little of the detail of what happened, Alistair Campbell, to coin the phrase “a moment of madness.”
However, Mr Blair became worried when a few days later Cabinet minister Nick Brown was ‘outed’ by the tabloids.
Mr Campbell reports the former Prime Minister as saying:
“We could get away with Ron as a one-off aberration but if the public start to think the whole cabinet is indulging in gay sex we could have a bit of a political problem.”
In November 1998 Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Nick Brown made a statement that he was gay as a response to enquiries from The News of the World, which had been approached by a previous lover who was offering the story for sale.
The Sun then raised the issue of a “gay mafia” as it claimed that four out of the sixteen men in the Cabinet at that time were gay.
There are currently no openly gay people in the Cabinet.
Mr Campbell also revealed that a senior police officer said Mr Davies was looking for sex on the Common.
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Deputy Commissioner of Scotland Yard, and future Commissioner, John Stevens told then Home Secretary Jack Straw:
“Ron Davies had been cruising on Clapham Common and had been picked up by a black male prostitute who later robbed him.”
Davies, married three times and the father of two children, later admitted he is bisexual.
He was elected to the Welsh Assembly in 1999, and stood down from Westminster in 2001.
Just before the 2003 Assembly elections, newspaper revealed that Davies had been loitering in a motorway lay-by renowned as a cruising area.
Despite his protestations that he was merely there looking for badgers, Davies was forced out.