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Tories battling for Assembly seats won't enter twice.

Byline: David Deans Senedd Correspondent david.deans@walesonline.co.uk

WELSH Conservative candidates are being stopped from running in both constituency and regional lists for next year's Assembly election, it has emerged.

In 2011 the Tory party lost its Assembly leader Nick Bourne after the party won an extra constituency seat in his region.

Since then Conservative secretaries of state for Wales have helped legalise dual candidacy.

There is speculation that Mark Isherwood, a North Wales list AM who is already selected to run again at the top of that region's Tory list, wants to also run in the seat of Delyn and has made an application to do so. It is not known if the application, if made, has been successful.

Mr Isherwood, who ran for the seat during the 2015 General Election, would not comment. A Welsh Conservative source in the Assembly said: "It's been our policy, since Labour a decade ago took a vindictive decision to ban dual candidacy, to oppose its removal.

"We successfully took that argument to the last UK Government and the Secretary of State. They agreed, and incorporated the restoration of dual candidacy in the Wales Act 2014."

However, it seems that view is not shared by the Welsh Conservatives' party board, which agreed the ban.

The source argued that people who took the decision understood how to fight a UK General Election, but did not understand the intricacies of an Assembly election. Dual candidacy was banned by the Labour government in 2006 and lifted by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition in 2014.

Problems arise for smaller parties with the Additional Member System if they win constituency seats in a region where they hold regional AMs.

If a long-standing Assembly Member is on a list seat, but the party begins to win constituency seats in that region, the longstanding member can potentially end up leaving the Assembly if he hadn't also stood for a constituency that had been won.

This happened to the Conservatives in 2011, when party leader Nick Bourne lost his seat when the party won three within the region of Mid and West Wales.

A Welsh Conservative spokesman said: "The party's position has not changed since the 2011 election and there will be no dual candidacy in next year's Assembly elections."

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 5, 2015
Words:381
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