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I don't know why I was fired - Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay

Free Press Series: 'VICTIM OF A COUP': Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay 'VICTIM OF A COUP': Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay

THE AM for Monmouth said his sacking from the Assembly’s opposition front-bench was like an "old fashioned coup" - telling the Argus he doesn't know why he was fired.

Nick Ramsay says he found out he had lost his job as shadow business minister last night from a Labour AM sat next to him on a train to Brussels.

He was among four Tory AMs, including South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar, dropped from the shadow cabinet by group leader Andrew RT Davies.

All four had declined to back an Assembly move to oppose a UK Government mechanism for varying income tax.

Mr Ramsay, who lost his job as shadow business minister, was also fired from his post chairman of the enterprise and business committee as he was travelling with the committee to meetings in Brussels.

He won’t cease being chairman until Tuesday – and so continues to chair the meetings with European officials.

“I’ve had better days,” he told the Argus in his first interview since he was sacked. “It’s baffling.”

Mr Ramsay said he hadn’t spoken to his leader Andrew RT Davies before or since he was dropped – despite having been in the Assembly on Wednesday morning.

He said: “I was sitting next to Mick Antoniw on the train, on the Eurostar. He said that I’d been sacked as chair of the committee and Mick asked me if I knew. I said no.

“This happened after I got to St Pancras and after I left the country. It’s a bit like an old-fashioned coup.”

He said he was involved in “pretty important discussions for Wales” and said it would have been better to have been told.

However the Monmouth AM said it was Mr Davies prerogative to have who he wants in the shadow cabinet.

Mr Ramsay, who has been an AM since 2007, said he didn’t know why he had been fired, but said he thought it was a “shame that there could have been more discussion around” the so-called lockstep for income tax.

He, Mr Asghar and the two others fired by Mr Davies did not back an amendment supported by the leader, which opposed the mechanism for varying income tax by changing all three bands in the same way.

“I thought the UK Government line on this is a good one and I didn’t think it was worth arguing against it,” he said.

The Argus asked Mr Ramsay how he felt about Mr Davies deviating from the UK Government policy: “That’s a matter for Andrew. If he wants to have a fight with the UK Government that’s his prerogative.

A Conservative source said the matter of the lockstep was discussed at length at a group meeting on Tuesday where Mr Ramsay had the opportunity to express his views.

Those who voted against the whip were invited to come to Mr Davies' office to discuss the matter at length but no one allegedly did.

The source added that every effort was made to contact Nick “through every channel”.

Monmouth MP David Davies last night told Mr Ramsay on Twitter that it was the “first time I've ever heard of a politician being sacked for supporting their own party policy”.

Mr Asghar, Newport-based South Wales East AM, also lost his sport and equalities portfolio in the re-shuffle.

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