Welsh Tory Nick Ramsay has accused some members of his party of conducting a “witch hunt” against him over accusations of improper behaviour.
The Monmouth AM dismissed claims from Tory sources his behaviour after drinking has led to complaints.
He said some party members were “trying to damage” him.
Mr Ramsay was suspended from the assembly Conservative group after his arrest but released without charge on New Year’s Day.
In an interview with the BBC Politics Wales programme, Mr Ramsay would not reveal the reason for his arrest before adding that he “never disputed” his original suspension from the party “but my problem was beyond that, once there were… no charges and no action, the suspension wasn’t dropped.”
It led him to sue the leader of the Conservatives in the assembly, Paul Davies, over claims he had broken the party’s constitution in suspending him.
On Thursday, Mr Ramsay ended legal proceedings after reaching a settlement with Mr Davies and has been “fully reinstated” to the party’s Cardiff Bay group.
He said he “can’t go into the details of that settlement with Paul” but that both of them “realised that for the good of the party, and for the good of constituents you represent, it’s a lot better to come to an amicable agreement than go through a whole court case”.
Following his arrest and release without charge, BBC Wales learned Mr Ramsay was the subject of complaints by some of his own local party members about a speech he made at the Monmouth Conservative Association’s spring dinner in 2018.
Several sources say complaints were made to the assembly’s standards commissioner about an allegedly “inappropriate” remark during his speech at the end of the event at Chepstow Racecourse.
One person present claimed Mr Ramsay had had “slightly more to drink than he should have”.
BBC Wales was told the commissioner decided Mr Ramsay had not broken the members’ code of conduct. The commissioner’s office declined to comment.
Asked by Politics Wales if he rejected the accusation, Mr Ramsay said: “Absolutely. It’s a load of nonsense.
“There’s a difference between complaints, which anyone can make about anyone, and admissible complaints.
“The dinner in question was a party dinner. Many people said to me that they thought it was absolutely fine.
“I’m not just a public figure, I am a family person as well and this has really put myself and my family under a lot of strain.
“I’ve got a lot of support locally, I have to say, and I’ve got a lot of support in the local party.
“But I will be quite frank that there have been over the last couple of years people who have been…trying to damage me publicly.
“I’m just not going to put up with it anymore. This has gone on for a long time and I’ve had enough.”
- Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay kept suspended by Tories
- Tory AM returns to assembly after suspension lifted
The chairman of the Monmouth Conservative Association Nick Hackett-Pain has previously dismissed allegations of a local smear campaign against Mr Ramsay as “entirely untrue”.
Mr Ramsay has been involved in several controversies since being elected AM for Monmouth in 2007:
- In June 2014, he was investigated by the assembly’s presiding officer over a claim he was drunk in the Senedd chamber, a claim he denied. Assembly authorities took no further action
- In 2012, he twice failed to turn up on time for committees he was chairing. The party assembly group apologised
- In 2011, he was barred from a Monmouthshire pub
Asked about these stories, Mr Ramsay said: “Those are just stories that are in the media. If there are allegations then they have to be followed through in a normal sense.
“The things that you’ve referred to there – I know that some people may be trying to rehash those things now – we’re talking, what, five years ago, eight years ago and the key point you made with one of those was rejected and no action taken so nothing came of that.
Following his re-instatement to the Tory assembly group, Mr Ramsay said it was possible to continue with things as they were before his suspension but acknowledged “it’s going to be difficult.”
He said he did not know whether he had the support of the majority of Conservative AMs.
“This is where I think we draw a line, we move forward together and I really want the Conservative group in the assembly to know that I’m there batting for them, I’m part of the team,” he added.
The Conservatives in the assembly have been asked to comment.
- Politics Wales is on BBC One Wales at 10:00 GMT on Sunday, 16 February, and then available on iPlayer.