Lib Dem Aled Roberts reinstated to Welsh Assembly

Aled Roberts, one of two Welsh Assembly members disqualified shortly after May’s election because they belonged to proscribed public bodies, has been reinstated after a vote by AMs today.

The BBC reports:

Members voted to reinstate Mr Roberts after an investigation found he was misled by out-of-date guidance for election candidates published in Welsh.

He said it had been a difficult period and he now wanted to represent voters.

AMs lifted his disqualification by 30 votes to 20 in the Senedd on Wednesday, with three abstaining after a near 50-minute debate.

Mr Roberts, elected for the North Wales region, was disqualified when it emerged he was a member of the Valuation Tribunal for Wales, which deals with appeals about business rates and council tax.

On Tuesday a report by assembly standards commissioner Gerard Elias QC said Mr 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”.

The report said Mr Roberts followed Welsh language advice from the Electoral Commission which referred him to regulations on proscribed bodies from 2006. They were replaced by a new order in 2010.

In a statement, the Commission said “there were mistakes made” in its guidance for candidates.

Commenting on the decision of the National Assembly to disregard the disqualification of Aled Roberts, Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:
 

I am obviously very pleased that the Assembly has decided to disregard the disqualification of Aled Roberts. The advice of Gerard Elias QC was clear and I am delighted that that legal advice was taken on board by Assembly Members. I believe that today, the Assembly showed itself to be a mature institution, confident enough to take the right course of action to right a wrong.
 
Aled Roberts can now get on with the job of representing the people of North Wales who elected him. I know that he will do so with distinction, enhancing the reputation of not just his party but the Assembly.
 
As I have said before, this case raises issues for many people and organisations, not least my own party but those are discussions for another day.

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This entry was posted in Election law and News.
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2 Comments

  • Ian Jenkins 7th Jul '11 - 9:50am

    Of course Aled Roberts did everything asked of him. How can anyone vote against him? These 20 who did so showed their utter cynical regard for fairness in public life.

  • The question remains: whether or not Aled Roberts accessed the Welsh-language information site, as he claimed. Gerard Elias QC was unaware of this matter when he made this decision.

    WWe have not heard the last of this.

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