Thursday, 7 July 2011

The AM who never was.

The long saga of the Libdem two has finally come to the end with one Aled Roberts bring allowed to take his seat and another John Dixon ignominiously dumped by the Assembly and by his party leader. It followed an independent report  which appeared to absolve Mr Roberts of blame. He was given the wrong information by the Electoral Commission, and the report, by the Assembly’s Commissioner for Standards, concluded he “did everything that he could have reasonably been expected to do in ensuring that he was not a disqualified person for the purpose of nomination or election to the National Assemblyy”

According to the Western Mail.

Following an opening speech by Lib Dem Business Manager Peter Black, Mr Roberts received broad supported from speakers from the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru, but a succession of Labour speakers, particularly from the new intake, stood up to speak against the motion and cast doubt against his case.
In the event, all parties except Plaid Cymru were divided. Of Labour’s 30 AMs, 11 were in favour of Mr Roberts’ return, 14 against, one – Housing Minister Huw Lewis – abstained, while two, including Carwyn Jones, were absent and Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler may not vote.
Of the 14 Conservatives, six were for, six were against, one was absent and Deputy Presiding Officer David Melding is not allowed to vote. And of the 11 Plaid Cymru members, nine were for while two abstained.
One of the Liberal Democrats who voted was  Eluned Parrott, Eluned who! you may ask? She was the second-placed Liberal Democrat tn the list to John Dixon . She swore her oath yesterday and was in her seat to take part in the vote, So its fortunate that it was not a close vote as the sacrifice of Dixon to ensure Roberts was saved, would have looked more ominous. Particularly as the second placed Libdem who would have replaced Roberts, was former AM Eleanor Burnham who could well have been a thorn in La Pasionaria's side as it seems it was lack of support from her leader that saw Burnham drop down the list and hence be replaced as AM by Roberts. Burnham could well have taken her seat and then perfectly legally, resigned the LibDem whip and sat as as an Independent. This may have well be part of the reason why Dixon was sacrificed. Although there was a case for arguing his failings were not  dishonest and he had already paid a price by virtual suspension from the Assembly  and should be treated  leniently.

Whilst I think the right decision was made over Roberts and indeed feel Dixon paid a heavy price for not paying attention to a poor system of rules. I can't help feeling that if yesterday the vote had gone the other way the elevation of Eleanor  Burnham would have shown how ridiculous the "Top Up" system is.

So the final result is that Aled Roberts is now officially an AM whilst technically John Dixon was never ever one and any vote that he took part in (Election of First Minister ) was technically invalid.

Instead we have two Politicians one disqualified and one managing to be saved because of discrepancies in the Welsh Version in the Rules even though he filled his nomination in English. Though I accept the validity that both Welsh and English documents must have the same legal protection.

If both the two AMs had been elected  by STV  or even First Past the Post we could have had byelections the two could have stood for reelection and  the other parties in the Assembly could have agreed not to stand then  the whole sorry saga could have been solved relatively easily and legitimately by the electorate.

But AMs can easily make sure this does not happen again by having  a two week period from the election of an AM and the taking of the Oath of allegiance  (and start getting paid)  in order they remove any impediments that would prevent them taking their seats.


  1. Its a shame about John Dixon as he sounds like he would have made a good AM, hopefully he will be re-elected next time.

    I have been wondering how this reflects the religious make up of the Assembly.

    Dixon is a sceptic, who studied science and can to attention whith his comments on Scientology

    Eluned Parrot by contrast described herself as a Christian who expressed some rather vague views about how religious sensitivities need to be protected, and is in favour of Sharia law in family law matters (which is of course the area of law in which the vulnerable, usually women, are more likely to be pressured into consenting to use sharia law instead of the actual law.)

    I'd be curious to see a breakdown of the religious views of the current assembly members.

  2. WA.
    I'm amazed you founf anything about Eluned Parrot but then I don't think anybody who voted LibDem last May thought she would ever be elected since they thought they would retain Cardiff Central and Dixon's election would have been a bonus.

    So we have a AM with a very dubious mandate who most of us and probably most Libdem supporters have never heard of. They didn't even put her name or photo on their electoral communication.

  3. Gwilym ap Llew7 July 2011 at 18:14

    I'm not sure that Eluned Parrot is the only AM with a dubious mandate. There really should be an inquiry into whether Aled Roberts was telling the truth when he said he had accessed a Welsh-language web site before the election.

  4. there is lots of goings on behind the scenes and them asking which other which way they are going to vote between am's. Its a hidden scandal as its am's themselves in their own club have decided the fate of aled roberts rather than an Independent body with the teeth and bravery to d oit, should have been the eelctoral commission but they are a group of nervous wrecks