Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Strange events in the Daily Post - Plaid rule breaking ?

Here is Welsh Labour's press release after the rather bizzare double page colour advert that appeared in today's Daily Post from Plaid MP Hywel Williams with the message "This communication was funded by the House of Commons" !

25 April 2007 Plaid Cymru on the run in Arfon

Misuse of public funds a sign of nationalist panic, says Labour.
PLAID Cymru is on the run and panicking about losing in the Arfon constituency, Labour said today. Nationalist Caernarfon MP Hywel Williams has taken out a double-page advert in today's Daily Post, paid for by public funds, to promote Plaid Cymru. The cost of a double-page colour advert in the paper is £8,930, including VAT.

Labour believes Plaid Cymru has clearly contravened public rules on the promotion of MPs. Labour Arfon candidate Martin Eaglestone said the advert was a desperate move from a party panicked about slumping to defeat on May 3. He called on the nationalists to pay back the cash to the public purse. Labour will also make a formal request to the House of Commons authorities to look into this misuse of public funds.

MARTIN EAGLESTONE said: "The nationalists are running scared in Arfon. They know as well as I do that reaction on the doorstep in the area has been extremely positive towards Welsh Labour. "People here want an Assembly Government run by Rhodri Morgan's Welsh Labour, not by Plaid Cymru and the Tories. They do not want Tory Ministers back in charge of the NHS, jobs and schools. "This is a desperate move from Plaid Cymru, terrified of a slump in the polls on May 3. This is a clear misuse of public funds, using taxpayers' money to promote the politics of Plaid Cymru.

"The timing of this advert stinks. Its use of Plaid Cymru's logo in such a prominent way and the fact that the newspaper's circulation extends well beyond the boundaries of the Caernarfon constituency, all point towards the nationalists canvassing for votes using public funds. "Plaid Cymru should use some of the windfall it received from its rich, London benefactor to repay the taxpayer for this disgraceful misuse of public funds."

Notes: Guidelines issued by Parliament on the communications allowance and the use of House Stationery states: "The use of party logos, while not disallowed entirely, is restricted to proportionate and discreet use; alternatively you may prefer to use the House emblem (the crowned portcullis) as this reflects the Parliamentary nature and purpose of the material being circulated."

Labour is concerned at the timing of the advert, appearing as it did a mere week before voters go to the polls in the Assembly election and at a time when postal voters have already received their voting papers. The use of a regional daily newspaper, in the opinion of Labour, also brings the validity of the advert into question. The paper's circulation extends well beyond the boundaries of Hywel Williams' constituency of Caernarfon. Why not simply advertise in his local weekly newspaper? In Labour's opinion this is a clear attempt to influence voters across the North Wales region.



I can note that some people were angry, while some were simply scratching their heads on why an MP would take out two full pages at this stage promoting himself at this time. Surely overshadowing all PLaid's AM candidates. Secondly his understanding of devolution seems limited as some of the topics raised are now devolved and not for the MP.

If the current rules allow for such blatant political adverts then this is another set of rules Labour must change in the interest of the public purse.

Strange events indeed.........

12 comments:

menaiblog said...

Martin

As I don't read the Daily Post, I know nothing of the advert, but as for panic in Plaid Cymru in Arfon, I reckon you're rather wide of the mark.

There's little point in arguing about an election result which we'll all be fully aware of in a week's time - but I reckon that you would have done very well to get half the Plaid vote.

Still, time will tell.

Martin Eaglestone said...

I struggle to accept that such an acknowledgable commentator does not read North Wales leading newspaper.

Aled said...

Absolutely disgraceful

How dare Plaid ever again lecture any party in power for wasting money when they stoop so low as to waste taxpayers money - that we have all paid towards - on a desperate election ploy.

And this is indeed the latest sign of Plaid knowing they are in trouble in Arfon.

Im not alone in deserting Plaid Cymru at this election.

Their pact with the Tories will be the final in their coffim for many people I know. Added to boundary changes that favour labour and plaid are on the run...

First sign of panic was on this very blog.

Party activists like Cymro spamming the site with his biased nonsense.

Second sign came when Plaid Cymru's candidate in Swansea (Ian) was despatched to shore up the vote in Arfon rather than campaign in his own area - see this blog for evidence

Now this despicable use of public money.

Keep exposing them Martin.

And lets hope for a Labour victory in May

Cymro said...

Yes, the Post is read all over North Wales. But Hywel is representing Caernarfon, not the new Arfon. There is no other paper that is commonly read around Arfon and Dwyfor. Hence the advert in the post.

Advertising there was cheaper and more effective than going to each newspaper, thus answering your concerns about taxpayers money. MPs still exist when the focus is on Cardiff.

And as for the claim that he is discussing devolved issues, Plaid Cymru are a party where there is agreement on all issues. Unlike Labour, who seek clear red water between London and Cardiff.

bethan said...

this was given the all clear by Westminster. This is not a story...All MP's are given a communication budget.You will criticise Plaid at any cost.

Martin Eaglestone said...

The reasons being given for this communication really do stretch the imagination.

Hywel has also placed the advert in the Herald, which actually covers his patch.

I am sure the voters of Wrexham and Deeside will be very pleased to read what Caernarfon's MP has not done.

menaiblog said...

Most Labour Westminster MPs voted to give MPs £10,000 for this purpose. Adam Price voted against as did Elfyn Llwyd. Hywel Williams didn't vote.

But since you insisted on giving us the money _ _ _.

Aled said...

Martin - your campaign is clearly rattling Plaid Cymru - and for good reason!

Bethan is now the second Plaid Cymru candidate from south wales who's clearly been despatched to cause trouble on Labour's Arfon site...

What Plaid Cymru member Cymro and candidate Bethan cant explain is this.

Why did Plaid choose to waste taxpayers money on this advert now - a few weeks ahead of the election?

When it could have been placed at any time in the last two years?

Or was the clue in my question...

Disgraceful.

If ever I needed one more reason to switch from Plaid this is it.

Just how much money did Plaid Cymru spend on this advert for their own electioneering?

But the signs of panic in their ranks at Labour's advance in Arfon continues apace:

1) Plaid Cymru members spam this site to try and undermine it

2) Second sign came when Plaid Cymru's candidate in Swansea (Ian) was despatched to shore up the vote in Arfon rather than campaign in his own area - see this blog for evidence

3) Plaid waste thousand of OUR money on this blatant electioneering - using the cover of information as the reason behind it. The timing is a pure coincidence ofcourse.

Pity silent man Alun Ffred wasn't as proactive at talking to residents during the last four years

4) Today we find another south wales Plaid Cymru candidate has been despatched to undermine Labour's Arfon site.

Oh how panic has clearly set in...

Well done Martin

Martin Eaglestone said...

I am sure the residents of housing estates in Wrexham, Deeside and Colwyn Bay were happy to read what the MP for Caernarfon has not been doing.

Who is the Assembly candiidate by the way I seem to have lost his name in the headline grabbing adverts by Hywel Williams.

Peter Black said...

What a coincidence, Adam Price has done the same in the South Wales Guardian.

Aled said...

Like you say total coincidence Im sure - funny how all these Plaid MPs are finding it important to talk to the electorate a few weeks before the Assembly elections.

We never get anything from them at any other times.

What a completely cynical party political waste of OUR taxpayers money.

Lets kick Plaid out next week and make them PAY!

Cai said...

I am surprised that all an experienced candidate can do is to slag off Plaid Cymru in nearly every blog entry rather than praising yourself and encouraging people to vote Labour!