Wales politics

Doubts raised over Welsh Lib Dem AMs' disqualification

Liberal Democrat AMs John Dixon and Aled Roberts
Image caption John Dixon and Aled Roberts were disqualified less than a fortnight after being elected

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have cast doubt over whether one of their disqualified assembly members broke election rules.

John Dixon and Aled Roberts were members of public bodies to which AMs cannot belong.

But the party said it has a letter from the Care Council for Wales which proves Mr Dixon's membership was terminated.

A joint police inquiry has begun following a complaint of electoral fraud.

However, the Welsh Lib Dems claims the letter from the Care Council for Wales raises questions about whether Mr Dixon should have been disqualified

The Welsh Lib Dems also said Mr Roberts received inaccurate information from the Electoral Commission.

Mr Dixon, a Cardiff councillor, was elected on the South Wales Central regional list, and Mr Roberts, who was until this week leader of Wrexham council, was elected AM for the North Wales region in the assembly election on 05 May.

They were disqualified after it emerged Mr Dixon was still a member of the Care Council for Wales, which regulates social care workers.

Mr Roberts was a member of the Valuation Tribunal for Wales, which deals with appeals about business rates and council tax.

The Lib Dems said they have a letter dated 9 May from the care council to Mr Dixon which says that due to his election "your membership of the Care Council for Wales is terminated".

It also asks him to write to the deputy minister for social services tendering his resignation.

The party said the letter raised questions about Mr Dixon's qualification because the organisation had already said that he was no longer a member.

Inaccurate information

The Lib Dems also said Mr Roberts was sent information by the Electoral Commission which directed him to an out-of-date list of disqualified organisations which did not include the Valuation Tribunal for Wales.

That body does appear on the most recent list of disqualified organisations.

The party said the Electoral Commission document included a link to The National Assembly for Wales (Disqualification) Order 2006 rather than the The National Assembly for Wales (Disqualification) Order 2010 which came into force in January 2011.

The Valuation Tribunal for Wales is not included in the 2006 order but is listed as a disqualified organisation in the 2010 order.

The Welsh Lib Dems said Mr Roberts made reasonable efforts to establish whether he qualified as a potential assembly member but was provided with inaccurate information.

Both AMs have now resigned from the organisations.

South Wales and North Wales Police forces have launched a joint investigation.

It follows a complaint from UKIP MEP John Bufton.

The Electoral Commission said it would be inappropriate to comment while there was an ongoing police investigation.

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