Barred Assembly Member to discover his fate

Reporter:

Staff reporter

WREXHAM Council’s former leader should find out later today whether he can take up his seat in the Welsh Assembly.


Cllr Aled Roberts, who is still a councillor for Ponciau, won the North Wales regional seat for the Liberal Democrats at May’s election but he was excluded from the chamber 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.


Fellow Liberal Democrat John Dixon was also barred from taking up his South Central Wales seat after finding himself in a similar situation over his membership of the Care Council for Wales.


Since then Cllr Roberts has been awaiting the findings of a probe by the Assembly’s Commissioner for Standards, Gerard Elias QC, which has now been completed, leaving AMs free to vote on a Liberal Democrat motion to have the pair reinstated.


The report says Cllr Roberts “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 Assembly”.


Earlier this week Cllr Roberts told the Leader that while he had not seen the report at that stage, he believed it broadly confirmed what he had been saying.
“The information, which came from the Electoral Commission and was passed on by the returning officers, referred to the 2006 rules about the tribunal rather than the 2010 rules, which had changed,” he said.


A spokesman for the National Assembly for Wales, the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Cllr Roberts, confirmed the vote will take place later today, but Cllr Roberts did not wish to comment further ahead of the vote.


UKIP MEP for Wales, John Bufton, reported the two men to the police for alleged electoral fraud, but South Wales Police recently told them no charges would be brought against them.

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