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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The missing Assembly Member

The decision of the Welsh Conservatives not to accept the resignation of Alun Cairns from the Assembly means that they have effectively abandoned Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Bridgend.

Instead they have asked him to stay on both as the full-time MP for the Vale of Glamorgan and as an Assembly Member for a completely different area, seven times its size. This is despite the fact that there would have been no by-election if he had resigned his Assembly seat due to him being a list member.

The fact that Alun Cairns has decided that he will not take his Assembly salary is admirable but it speaks volumes as to how he will be doing his job as an AM. The intention is clearly to leave those who voted for him unrepresented. However, it does raise fundamental questions as to other aspects of his job.

I do not know what will happen to Alun's regional office in Porthcawl but if he retains that will he continue to claim Assembly allowances for it and if so what service will be offered from there?

Will Alun continue to employ Assembly Support Staff from his allowances and if so what will they be doing? It would of course be against the rules to deploy them in the Vale of Glamorgan but how will they be assisting their employer when he appears to have washed his hands of the role of AM?

Will Alun continue to hold surgeries, participate in local campaigns, and respond to correspondence from his constituents? All of these questions need an answer.

It turns out that we were a convenient staging post to higher things and that for the next year at least will have one less AM representing us.
Will the voters notice or even care? I don't think that anyone in Maesteg will worry about one AM less particularly when he is not even claiming the salary. Most voters are already well represented in the Assembly by the constituency member. In the case of Porthcawl they are even represented by the First Minister. As for not taking up any constituent's problems anyone who knows Alun Cairns should have no worry that their letters or complaints would not be answered or addressed.Like yourself he has always been prepared to investigate any complaint from constituents in my experience.He is also very good at spotting an opening and I'm sure that his election to the Commons will not stop him issuing press statements on issues in his Assembly region. Frankly there is more concern in Bridgend about the lack of attendance at council meetings of certain Liberal Democrat councillors. One of them would have been kicked off the Council if she hadn't turned up for the recent AGM. At £13800 that it really taking the mickey out of the taxpayer. To argue that the region is somehow under represented at the Assembly is really trying to play politics with your coalition partners problems with the person who was chosen by Tory members to be second on the list. I doubt in the circumstances if any political party including the Liberal Democrats would have adopted a different course to the one being followed by the Tories. It really is a non issue as far as the voters are concerned. Now the antics of Mr Laws that's a different matter.
he should have resigned his post before standing for M.P.
For convenience an Assembly by election could have taken place for his area on G.E. day, may 6th
I am fine with him retaining his post until elected to Parliament. He should have resigned straight away though as he promised his voters at the time. A by-election would not be necessary due to the fact that Alun is a list member. As Jeff identifies the problem the Tories faced was their number two on the list but that is a problem of their own making and one they could have addressed earlier. After all it is not as if they did not see this coming.
Totally agree with you Peter, it's not as if Alana Davies was a serious contender in the Vale of Glamorgan.
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