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.