Thursday, 3 June 2010

Alun Cairns gets the Oscar

News that Alun Cairns seems to have been ordered not to resign his regional seat of South Wales Central after being elected to Westminster for the Vale of Glamorgan has led to some speculation.

Conservative Porthcawl town councillor Chris Smart, who was in line to take over if Mr Cairns had stood down as one of the Assembly’s 20 AMs elected through the “top-up” regional list system, last week said he was “flabbergasted” by the decision..

There has also been somewhat hypocritical comments from Peter Black (Who as well as a regional AM is Swansea City Councillor and Alun Davies who represents Mid & West Wales in the Assembly (bur who is also nursing the Blaneau Gwent seat in another region).

Conservative Porthcawl town councillor Chris Smart, who was in line to take over if Mr Cairns had stood down as one of the Assembly’s 20 AMs elected through the “top-up” regional list system, last week said he was “flabbergasted” by the decision.

There has been some speculation that Mr Smart is considered to be on the right of the party and as a young man he was bound over to keep the peace after posing as a school inspector in an attempt to “stop truancy”. Therefore he might well have proved to be an embarrassment to the Party.

However there has been a long tradition of dual mandate AM/MPs from the onset of the Assembly's creation but these mostly consisted of constituency MP’s . The only precedent was Alun Michael who later resigned his Assembly seat in a pique when he could no longer be top dog.

Alun Michael', like Alun Cairns, represented a Parliamentary seat that was not in the region which he represented in the Assembly So the criticism of Alun Cairns in this case has some justification. Especially since Mike German has resigned his regional seat as he enters the Lords. (incidentally is the fact that his Wife being number two on the Lib-Dem list has taken his Assembly seat, point to any prior knowledge of his ennoblement?)

However I think that the reason Cairns has been ordered to remain a AM, is because it would show the position of Mohammad Asghar to be untenable. A regional list AM for Plaid Cymru for South Wales East, defected to the Tories last year December. The seat was allocated to Plaid and If “Oscar” was to resign (or unfortunately die) then surely the seat were to pass back to Plaid.The current position whilst legal is hardly moral.

 The whole situation shows that the current electoral system for our AMs is in its self untenable. With what amount to two tier AM’s with different electoral mandates. If Mr Cairns or Mike German had resigned a constituency seat then would be a By-election and with just a year to go for the next Assembly's election there could be a justified claim to defer the election because of cost to the local tax payer but this cannot be argued fo regional AMs who are simply replaced (as Mike German was by his Wife) by the next on the list.

Why can’t we sort this out and have legislation banning dual mandate MP/AMs (the EU already has) but the real answer to introduce STV and have AMs and MPs on a equal basis.

There has been some speculation that Mr Smart is considered to be on the right of the party and as a young man he was bound over to keep the peace after posing as a school inspector in an attempt to “stop truancy”. Therefore he might well have proved to be an embarrassment to the Party.


However there has been a long tradition of dual mandate AM/MPs from the onset of the Assembly creation but these mostly consisted of constituency MP’s . The only precedent was Alu Michael who later resigned his Assembly seat in a pique.

Michaels, l like Alun Cairns represented a Parliamentary seat that was not in the region he represented in the Assembly So the criticism of Alun Cairns in this case has some justification. Especially since Mike German has rosined his seat as he enters the Lords. (incidentally is the fact that his Wife being number two on the Lib-Dem list has taken his Assembly seat point to his prior knowledge of his ennoblement?)

However I think that the reason Cairns has been ordered to remain a AM is because it would show the position of Mohammad Asghar, a regional list AM for Plaid Cymru for South Wales East, I to defect to the Tories last year December. The seat was allocated to Plaid and If “Oscar” was to resign then surely the seat were to pass to Plaid. The whole situation shows that the current electoral system for our AM’s is untenable. With what amount to two tier AM’s with different electoral Mandates. If Mr Cairns or Mike German had resigned a constituency seat then would be a By-election.

Why can’t we sort this out and have legislation banning dual mandate MPs/Ams (the EU already has); but the real answer to introduce STV and have AMs and MPs on a equal basis. We will have to wait for a true progressive government it wiil be along one,

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