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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ieuan's revenge?

Plaid Cymru staffers have hit back today at their former Assembly Member, Mohammed Ashgar, who defected to the Tories on Tuesday.

The Western Mail reports that yesterday Plaid sources told them that as recently as September, Mr Asghar – known to friends as Oscar – was seeking to employ his daughter Natasha as a press officer. The Roger Jones Review of AMs' expenses proposed restrictions on employing family members after May 2011:

Plaid Cymru, however, took a decision after the panel report was published to impose the recommendations on its own AMs immediately.

A senior Plaid source said: “In September, Mohammad Asghar sought clarification from the Fees Office about whether he could employ his daughter. He was told he could.

“But the Plaid group then reminded him of the party decision that no more family members should be taken on, and told him that employing his daughter was unacceptable.

“He was already employing his wife.”

Another Plaid source said: “He didn’t like the fact that he had been stopped from employing his daughter.

“He obviously idolises her, and it seems this was the last straw for him.

“He was very disappointed earlier when Natasha only secured fourth position on the party list for the European Parliament election.

“Clearly there is speculation that Natasha is now looking for a future in the Conservative Party, and people are wondering whether she will get a job with them.”

This is a complete contrast to statements on Tuesday when senior Plaid Cymru figures told the media that there were no on-going disputes between the party and Oscar. Presumably they decided to tell all now as part of their fightback.

The position of Oscar's staff is also an issue: Mr Asghar’s other members of staff have been put on special leave until Monday, before which they are due to meet Plaid Cymru’s solicitors. One of the employees, who did not wish to be named, said: “We have still had no direct communication from him. Obviously we took the jobs on the basis we would be working for a Plaid AM and have no wish to work for a Conservative politician.”

This row will run and run.
The principle here is an important one, hilarious as the circumstances of the particular case seem to be. As I recall, he was elected via the top-up list, to which electors select a party rather than an individual. If a top-up member were to resign, or pass away, would the next name on the party list not then join the Assembly in his/her stead? If so, surely it isn't for Mr Ashgar to choose whether to resign his seat or not if he decides to change party - if he is no longer Plaid, he has no mandate and should be ejected automatically. Whether top-up Tories elsewhere wish to resign to allow him to join that party's list and so re-enter the chamber is presumably also up to them.
AVFP - Yes, it is hilarious, I've peed myself just thinking about this situation.

Only goes to show that Plaid, in their infinite wisdom chose to put a Unionist in their Nunber Two Postition in the SW Regional List; this is a very basic error, Plaid deserve to be ridiculed!
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