LAWYERS acting for Monmouth Senedd member Nick Ramsay will ask a court for an injunction on Friday (November 20), in a bid to stop his Conservative constituency party considering a petition calling for his deselection as their chosen 2021 election candidate.
It follows a previous letter to Monmouthshire Conservative Association that claimed its proposal to consider the petition at a meeting on Monday (November 23) was "unconstitutional”, and party members could be liable for legal costs and damages.
In a statement, Mr Ramsay’s lawyers said on Tuesday: “The reason for the action is simple.
“Mr (Nick) Hackett-Pain (constituency party chairman) and the Monmouth Conservative Association will not disclose why this petition has been brought, who it was brought by or when.
“They have simply refused to speak directly to Mr Ramsay about it. These are hardly the actions of a democratic body who have an interest in fairness.”
Mr Hackett-Pain told the BBC this week: “The Monmouth Conservative Association has never sought any form of confrontation with Nick Ramsay and any legal action brought is entirely of his doing.
"We have been advised by lawyers and Conservative head office that we have acted entirely within our rules and rights at all times."It is understood the petition, which has been signed by more than 50 members, is only up for discussion at Monday's projected meeting and no final decision will be made then.
In their statement, Sanders Witherspoon added: “It is unfortunate our client is referred to as a “candidate”, he is a Member of the Welsh Assembly.
“Furthermore, they will not disclose the petition. We are also aware that not all members of the association were made aware of the petition in the first place," the statement claims.
“We have also been informed that not all members have been made aware of this legal action and are learning about it via the press. It is outrageous.
“To criticise Mr Ramsay for trying to drag them to court is fetid. They should be in no doubt we are taking them to court and we are confident the right-thinking members of the association are appalled they are being taken advantage of in this way.
“Any lawyer worth their salt would not allow any client to walk into a life changing tribunal, whether it is Mr Ramsay or otherwise, without knowing the reasons behind why they are there."
Mr Ramsay was first elected 13 years ago and retained the seat in 2016, securing 43 per cent (13,585) of the vote ahead of Welsh Labour’s Catherine Fookes, who polled 27 per cent (8,438).
Party members have reportedly said that relations between the politician and the constituency party have been strained for some time.
On New Year’s Day evening at the start of this year, Mr Ramsay was arrested after police were called to a “disturbance” at his Raglan home.
He was later released without charge, but was suspended by his party and the Welsh Assembly Conservative group.
The MS then launched legal action - reportedly costing £70,000 - over the suspension, which was later dropped when he was reinstated.
But matters came to a head again last month when an executive meeting of the constituency association was served with a petition by members calling for his deselection as party candidate for next year’s Welsh Assembly elections.
A constituency party officer told the BBC he was obliged to present the petition for further consideration, but the move prompted a flurry of legal activity on behalf of Mr Ramsay.
His lawyers also claimed "defamatory comments" had been made about the Senedd member at the October meeting.
He has previously told the BBC: “I’m afraid the situation is now with my lawyers and it would be wrong for me to comment further so you will need to speak to them."
It is understood that central Conservative Party officials will be involved in running the meeting on Monday and taking votes if it goes ahead.