Rod (Roderick) Richards (born Llanelli 12 March 1947) was the Conservative Member of Parliament for North West Clwyd, in Wales, from 1992 to 1997, when he lost his seat in the Labour Party landslide. He was also the Conservative leader in the Welsh Assembly in 1999, after being elected as an Assembly Member for North Wales.
Welsh speaking, Mr Richards was educated at Llandovery College and Swansea University. He first rose to public prominence in the 1980s as a Welsh-language newsreader for BBC Wales. Before that, he had spent some time in the Royal Marines including serving in Northern Ireland, served on the intelligence staff of the Ministry of Defence, and as a former economic forecaster.
He first tried to enter parliament at the 1987 general election, when he stood unsuccessfully for the Carmarthen seat. He was unsuccessful again two years later at a by-election for the Vale of Glamorgan, but at the 1992 general election he was elected as MP for the former parliamentary seat of Clwyd North West. During John Major's government he was appointed Welsh Office junior minister in 1996, but was forced to resign when revelations about his private life appeared in a Sunday tabloid newspaper.
Although defeated in his constituency seat during the first Welsh Assembly elections in 1999, he was elected to the new body as lead candidate on the Conservatives' regional top-up list. He was appointed the Conservtive party leader in the Welsh Assembly defeating Nick Bourne, who was then widely regarded as William Hague's first choice for the job (and eventually went on to become leader), but stood down after he was accused of assaulting a young woman. He was cleared of assault in June 2000.
Rod Richards had the party whip withdrawn from him following his decision to abstain rather than vote with his fellow Conservatives against the Assembly's budget at the end of 1999. He continued to sit in the Assembly, as an 'Independent Conservative' until 2002 when he resigned as an Assembly Member (AM), saying he was leaving the assembly immediately in the interests of his health.
At the High Court in London in February 2003, Rod Richards was declared bankrupt with debts estimated at more than £300,000.
On 30 April 2006 he entered the debate regarding John Prescott's marital affair. Speaking on a Radio Five Live phone in, Richards described how after his own affair in 1996, Prescott had acted in an 'ungentlemanly' fashion, both in public and in private