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.........