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Saturday, December 05, 2015

Dual candidacy row misses the point

There is a lot of fuss on social media and in today's Western Mail about the decision by the Welsh Conservative's board of management not to allow their candidates in next year's Assembly elections to fight both a constituency seat and stand on the regional list. This is despite the fact that the Tories, along with the Liberal Democrats removed the dual candidacy ban in the last Government of Wales Bill.

Those suggesting that these two positions are incompatible are missing the point. The injustice was in restricting candidates from making a choice and preventing them engaging in what are two inter-related but distinctive electoral processes. In this case the Welsh Conservatives have made a choice. Others may decide otherwise.

Indeed there are members of other parties who will fight both constituency and list. I am not one of those. I will have represented South Wales West for seventeen years come next May. My role as a regional Assembly Member is as valid and equal to that of a constituency AM. I will be emphasising that by standing solely on the list.

To have stood as a constituency AM as well would have been to do a disservice to those of my constituents living in other parts of the region. That is my view and relates solely to me and the role I have carved out for myself. Others will have done the job differently and will wish to reflect that in their choices.

The last Government of Wales Act made all these options available. It was the right thing to do. So let us not denigrate anybody who chooses to do something different.
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