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Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Published at 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK


UK: Wales

Tory AMs accused of 'jumping ship'

Rod Richards is accused of "lacking commitment"

Two Conservative Assembly Members have been accused of trying to "jump ship" as they seek selection as candidates for seats at Westminster.

Labour AM Alun Pugh said the Conservative Party should block the applications of Rod Richards and Alun Cairns to become MPs.


Alun Pugh AM: "I think the Conservative Party should block their applications"

Mr Pugh accused the Tory AMs of using the Assembly as a "training ground for Parliament" and he is due to make a statement of opinion in the chamber on Tuesday, signed by other AMs.

Mr Richards was elected in May for the top-up list seat as AM for North Wales while Mr Cairns won the seat of South Wales West.


[ image: Alun Pugh AM:
Alun Pugh AM: "The Assembly is not a training course for Parliament"
Both men are shortlisted for the Parliamentary seat of Clwyd West, which Mr Pugh represents in the Assembly. Previously held by Mr Richards at Westminster, until he lost it to Labour in 1997, Clwyd West is regarded as the Conservatives' best bet for a constituency gain in Wales.

Mr Pugh claimed the Tory AMs were showing a "lack of commitment" to the Assembly by seeking a dual mandate - representing Welsh constituencies in the Assembly and the House of Commons.

"I do not think it is possible to be an AM and an MP," said Mr Pugh.


[ image: Alun Cairns, Tory AM for South Wales West]
Alun Cairns, Tory AM for South Wales West
"We were elected in May and now we have two Conservative AMs trying to jump ship at the earliest opportunity.

"I do not think that is showing proper commitment to the people of Wales that elected them.

"The other parties - Labour, Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru - have a commitment to the Assembly, the Tories do not.

"I think the Conservative Party should block their applications."

Mr Richards is AM for the seat of North Wales while Mr Cairns is AM for the seat of South Wales West.

Mr Pugh added: "The Assembly has very serious responsibilities on jobs creation, health and education in Wales."



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