Newport AM quits Assembly committee in ‘protest’
5:44pm Friday 4th April 2014 in News
A GWENT AM has left an Assembly committee, in an apparent protest at against his sacking last month from the opposition front bench.
Newport-based Mohammad Asghar was fired from the Tory shadow cabinet in February after he and three other AMs didn’t follow the party line on income tax powers for Wales.
Last Tuesday the AM was replaced on the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by fellow South East Wales AM William Graham.
But Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said Mr Asghar hadn’t given a reason why he wanted to give up his post.
A source close to the South East Wales AM told the Argus: “Mr Asghar made it clear back in February he didn’t want to serve on the Public Accounts Committee as a protest against the actions against the four.”
The source had claimed that the Tories had tried to persuade him Oscar to stay on but that he had refused: “His position is that he wants all four [AMs] put back to where they were before.”
An email seen by the Argus shows Mr Asghar’s office had indicated he wanted to quit the committee on February 17 – five days after he was sacked from the front bench. The motion for him to be replaced didn’t go through until last Tuesday.
The South East Wales AM confirmed to the Argus that he had resigned from the PAC: “I’m still serving my community which is my priority. I’m still scrutinising government from the back benches,” he said.
However at his weekly press conference Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said Mr Asghar hadn’t explained why: “He just said he wanted to come off the committee.”
Mr Asghar and Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay, together with their colleagues Antoinette Sandbach and Janet Finch-Saunders, were fired from the shadow cabinet after they failed to back an Assembly motion opposing a proposed “lockstep” system for varying income tax.
Their leader had backed the motion.
A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said: “Mr Asghar no longer wished to sit on Public Accounts Committee and has been replaced accordingly.”
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