Thursday 13 March 2014

Returning Officer suitability; MP tables Questions to Cabinet Office

Further to Monday's post; 'MP calls for 'intervention' as Mark James confirmed as Returning Officer for Euro Elections', Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards has tabled the following written Parliamentary Questions to the Minister for the Cabinet Office to be answered next week;

Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office;

i) what representations he has received from (a) the Electoral Commission, (b) the Welsh Government and (c) Carmarthenshire County Council on the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council and his responsibilities as Returning Officer.

ii) what assessment he has made of the suitability of the chief executives of Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council acting as returning officers in future elections.

iii) will the Minister meet the Electoral Commission to discuss the suitability of the chief executives of Carmarthenshire County Council and Pembrokeshire County Council for their roles as returning officers at the forthcoming European election.

iv) will the Minister amend the guidance given to the Electoral Commission on whether prohibiting public officials who are suspended or under criminal investigation retain their responsibilities as returning officers.

v) what discussions he has had with the Electoral Commission on Returning Officer responsibilities in Carmarthenshire at the forthcoming European elections.

Parliamentary Questions 

Carmarthenshire County Council said yesterday (Wednesday) that Mr James will still be fulfilling the role of Returning Officer as it is different to that of chief executive of the council.

Although the Council's Constitution states that;
The Chief Executive shall be the Head of Paid Service under Section 4 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, having responsibility for the following functions.... 
...acting as Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer for local government, National Assembly for Wales, Parliamentary and European elections

Also, the Electoral Commission Wales issued this clarification to Cneifiwr yesterday;

"The role of a Returning Officer is an independent position and the Electoral Commission are not responsible for, and have no legal power relating to, the appointment or the removal of a Returning Officer for any given election. This is a matter for the relevant Government department (in the case of the European Parliamentary elections, this would be the responsibility of the UK Government) and accompanying legislation.

"The position of Local Returning Officer (LRO) for the European Parliamentary election is determined by legislation. The person who is the Returning Officer for local government elections (appointed by the individual county or county borough in Wales) is automatically appointed the LRO for the European Parliamentary elections in that area (Regulation 6 (2) of the European Parliamentary Election Regulations 2004, as amended in 2013)."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should know by now the comment made by unelected staff member of CCC." we don't care what the law says, we say what happens and we usually get our own way" Need I say more. If this attitude is the norm for some staff members, what chance do we have?