AM to face police probe after MEP’s complaints

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

AN MEP has reported Wrexham Council’s former leader to the police for alleged electoral fraud.

Aled Roberts, who remains as a councillor for Ponciau, has been barred from the Welsh Assembly seat he won for the Liberal Democrats in the election earlier this month.

On Tuesday he was barred from sitting in the Senedd after officials discovered that at the time of his election he was still a member of the Valuation Tribunal for Wales, which is not allowed under the rules.

At the same time South Central AM John Dixon was barred for being in a similar situation with the Care Council for Wales.

Both AMs were hoping to be back in their seats yesterday morning following a vote to suspend standing orders by fellow members.

But a motion to have them reinstated was withdrawn from Wednesday’s plenary session and the earliest a motion can now be tabled is next Wednesday.

The latest twist came yesterday when UKIP (United Kingdom Independent Party) MEP for Wales, John Bufton, said he had reported both AMs to their respective local police forces for alleged electoral fraud.

Mr Bufton said: “I have taken advice from the Electoral Commission on this and have asked North Wales Police to look into the matter of Aled Roberts and South Wales Police to look at John Dixon.

“I am not trying to score political points here. I think the Liberal Democrats who were next on the regional list should now take over from Mr Jones and Mr Dixon.

“This is a very serious issue and at the end of the day AMs need to be above the law.”

Cllr Roberts said yesterday he was not prepared to comment on the latest development.

A spokesman for the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: “Aled Roberts has resigned his position with the Valuation Tribunal for Wales while John Dixon has resigned from his position with the Care Council for Wales. However both were members of these organisations at the time of their election.

“Our understanding is that there will be process of investigation conducted by the clerk of the Assembly.

“We now need to let that investigation take place and do not propose to comment any further at this stage.”

A spokesman for the National Assembly said: “Actions are being taken on behalf of the presiding officer by the clerk of the Assembly.”

A North Wales Police spokesman said: “Following a complaint received by South Wales Police and North Wales Police relating to electoral fraud, South Wales Police will be leading an investigation by both forces following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.

“The investigation is in the early stages with enquiries ongoing.”

Meanwhile, a legal expert has said the two disqualified Lib Dems cannot be reinstated as AMs.

Winston Roddick QC, the former chief legal adviser to the Assembly, said the election results, which led to Mr Dixon and Mr Roberts being elected, were now N and void.

He said: “The law is quite plain. It simply states the election by which they became AMs was void and it’s as if the election had not taken place and they had not been elected.

“What you have are two vacancies. The question is who now should be occupying these seats?

“Is it the person who came second in the election or should there be another election?

“My provisional view is rather than hold another election, which I don’t think they have the power to do, the person who should occupy the seat is the person who came second in the poll.”

See full story in the Leader

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read