Friday, 21 August 2015

Carmarthenshire councillor who failed to declare a £25,000 payment from an energy firm

The news that  Carmarthenshire councillor who failed to declare a £25,000 payment from an energy firm before a vote on its wind farm plan has been suspended is interesting but points to a certain anomaly when it comes to the difference between rules for our local councilors and our AM and MPs
Councillor Haulwen Lewis, of Llanfihangel-ar-Arth community council, was paid by RWE NPower Renewables Ltd.She failed to mention the "prejudicial interest" at a planning vote linked to its proposed Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm.An adjudication panel has now suspended her for three months.Mrs Lewis and her husband, John, entered an agreement with the company to allow an access road to be built on their land at Carregwen Farm.'They were paid £25,000, with a further £30,000 to be handed over if the wind-farm proposal went ahead. The project, since approved, consists of a dozen wind turbines, which are yet to be built.Mrs Lewis attended a council meeting and secret ballot on 16 January 2012 and failed to disclose the deal.The Public Services Ombusman for Wales received a complaint in December 2013 and the Adjudication Panel for Wales held a hearing in Carmarthen on Thursday.It found she fell foul of the council's code of conduct, calling this a "serious" breach and noting she had only admitted it a day before the hearing was due to take place.Mrs Lewis said she abstained in the vote, with her ballot paper left blank.She will remain suspended from the community council until November.
I an not here to defend Councillor Haulwen Lewis and I do not know if she has any political affiliation she clearly is in in the wrong
But its odd that even after the Cash-for-questions affair our MPs still  only get into trouble iid they don't declare an intrest but are free to Lobby for those they may have a financial  interest in our receiving a dirct payment.
A simple trawl of most MPs interest shows that they often receive payment for work often nominal outside their Parliamentary duties .
At least they are supposed to relinquish them when joining the Cabinet or other government positions.
But it does appear the rules for a lowly community councilor are stil tougher than that of a MP and can't be right.
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