Calls for senior Tory to resign for comparing protesters storming US Capitol to Brexit referendum

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·4 min read
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Donald Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP)

A senior Tory is facing calls to resign after he equated protesters at the US Capitol to Remain supporters demanding a second Brexit referendum.

Hundreds of angry supporters of Donald Trump clashed with police at the US Capitol on Wednesday, forcing Congress to halt the voter certification process to confirm Joe Biden’s presidential election win.

Former Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies, who is now the Welsh Conservatives health spokesman, responded to a tweet by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who described the “horrendous scenes” in Washington DC as “a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people”.

Quoting the tweet, 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.”

Labour’s Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda, described Davies’ tweet as a “disgrace”, and said he had written to Tory co-chairman Amanda Milling demanding he be suspended.

He said: “Equating democratic political debate with an armed, violent assault on the Capitol validates violence.”

Watch: Trump supporters storm US Capitol as politicians evacuated

Davies’ comments were also 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.”

Former MP Antoinette Sandbach replied to Burt, stating: “Welcome to the Conservative party in Wales Alistair.”

She added: “This is an embarrassing par for the course for Andrew and is a reflection of his thinking which he frequently demonstrated as leader of the Welsh Conservatives.”

Welsh first minister and Welsh Labour Party leader Mark Drakeford tweeted: “There is no excuse for using this moment to further entrench divisions in our society.”

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 17:  Leader of the Welsh Conservative party AM Andrew RT Davies speaks at the Conservative Spring Forum on March 17, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. In her speech the Prime Minister set out her desire to create a more united Britain which follows demands by leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, for a second independence referendum for Scotland  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Andrew RT Davies later sought to clarify his comments over the US Capitol riots. (Getty)
Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the West wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Supporters of Donald Trump climb the West wall of the the US Capitol in Washington. (AP)
Supporters of President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Supporters of President Donald Trump rally at the US Capitol in Washington. (AP)

Seeking to clarify his comments, Davies later tweeted: “As I said earlier, the scenes that are coming out of Washington tonight are awful. They are completely unacceptable and an affront to democracy everywhere. Thankfully, elections in this country have never resulted in appalling incidents like those we have seen this evening.

“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.”

Elsewhere, shadow justice secretary David Lammy criticised Nigel Farage’s response to the riots after the Brexit Party leader said storming Capitol Hill was “wrong” and that protesters “must leave”.

Lammy tweeted in response: “Who are you kidding? You said you would ‘don khaki, pick up a rifle and head for the front lines’ if you did not get the type of Brexit you wanted. This too was wrong.”

El presidente Donald Trump llega a dar un discurso a un mitin en su apoyo, el miércoles 6 de enero de 2021, en Washington. (AP Foto/Jacquelyn Martin)
Donald Trump called on protesters to leave the Capitol after the building was stormed. (AP)
A flag that reads "Treason" is visible on the ground in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A flag reading 'Treason' on the ground after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington. (AP)

Four people died during the riots, including a woman who was reportedly shot by police inside the Capitol.

Three other people are said to have died as a result of medical emergencies, while 52 people were arrested.

Watch: World leaders react to storming of US Capitol

Note: The headline in this article was updated on 7 January to reflect the fact that Mr Davies is not a Member of Parliament.