Not everyone is eligible to be an Assembly Member. The Government of Wales Act 2006 and other legislation prohibit certain persons from being an Assembly Member (this includes, for example, MPs, judges, civil servants, Assembly officials).
Currently, all disqualifications prohibit a person from standing for election to the Assembly. When nominated, candidates must declare that they are not disqualified from being Assembly Members. If they are aware that they are disqualified, they cannot stand for election. This means that persons holding disqualifying posts or offices may have to give up their employment in order to stand for election to the Assembly.
The Assembly Commission wants to enable and encourage more people to stand for election. To achieve this aim, the Assembly Commission intends to change the law so that most disqualifications prohibit a person from taking up a seat in the Assembly but not from standing for election. This would allow more people to stand for election and give up their disqualifying post or office only if they are elected.
The changes would also make the rules on disqualification clearer by setting them all out in one piece of law.
This proposal and others relating to disqualification are based on recommendations made by the Fourth Assembly’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee in their report on disqualification.
The proposals formed part of the ‘Creating a Parliament for Wales’ consultation. 34 per cent of responses to a question on disqualification agreed that the Committee’s recommendations should be implemented by legislation. Only 13 per cent disagreed, with the remainder expressing no opinion.