Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has demanded the Conservative Party takes action against a Welsh Senedd member who compared protesters at the US Capitol to those who supported a second referendum on Brexit.
Andrew RT Davies, the Welsh Conservatives’ health spokesman and former leader in the Senedd, had responded to a tweet by Sir Keir Starmer in which the Labour leader described the “horrendous scenes” in Washington DC as “a direct attack on democracy”.
Quoting the tweet, Mr Davies wrote: “To be honest I’m not sure you’re in the strongest position right now given you campaigned to overturn democracy and the will of the British people.”
To be honest I’m not sure you’re in the strongest position right now given you campaigned to overturn democracy and the will of the British people. https://t.co/dKV1PuB6VB
— Andrew RT Davies (@AndrewRTDavies) January 6, 2021
Following criticism, Mr Davies later tweeted: “Violence must never be tolerated and I will work with politicians of all persuasions to ensure we never see scenes like those in Washington in this country. No one should be in any doubt about my position on this.”
On Thursday, Ms Rayner wrote to Tory Party chairwoman Amanda Milling, calling for an urgent inquiry into Mr Davies’ comments, for his membership to be suspended, and for him to be prevented from standing as a Tory candidate in May’s Welsh Parliament election.
Ms Rayner said: “To equate peaceful democratic debate in the UK with deadly violence in the USA validates the violence that we have seen in Washington DC, serves to legitimise and incite violence in our own country and undermines our democracy and democratic processes.”
She also called for action to be taken against Susan Hall, leader of the Conservative Group on the Greater London Assembly, who made the same comparison on Twitter.
Ms Hall said in a tweet: “I am flabbergasted at the amount of Remainers screaming on Twitter that Trump voters should respect democracy – err hellooo – pot – kettle spring to mind!”
This is an appalling and completely unworthy analogy with @Keir_Starmer Have you taken leave of your senses equating the two? If you are an office holder of any sort in the Conservative Party, resign now.
— Rt Hon Alistair Burt (@AlistairBurtUK) January 6, 2021
Mr Davies’ comments were condemned by former Conservative MP Alistair Burt, who described the tweet as an “appalling and completely unworthy analogy”, adding: “Have you taken leave of your senses equating the two?
“If you are an office holder of any sort in the Conservative Party, resign now.”
Welsh First Minister and Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford tweeted: “There is no excuse for using this moment to further entrench divisions in our society.”
Labour MP for Rhondda Chris Bryant said he has also written to Ms Milling demanding Mr Davies’ suspension, accusing him of “deliberate equation of democratic debate in the UK with the armed, violent assault on the Capitol and the incendiary validation of violence”.
My letter to @amandamilling demanding that @AndrewRTDavies be suspended from the Conservative Party for his deliberate equation of democratic debate in the UK with the armed, violent assault on the Capitol and the incendiary validation of violence. pic.twitter.com/7KK9QhT4vc
— Chris Bryant (@RhonddaBryant) January 6, 2021
A Welsh Conservative Party spokesman said: ‘The scenes in Washington last night were disgraceful and unacceptable. We totally condemn them. We are investigating these comments.”