Ex-Plaid chief's Welsh Assembly adviser role a 'farce'

By Alun Jones
BBC Wales Political Unit

Image caption,
Elin Jones opening the first assembly session of 2019 on Tuesday

Criticism has been levelled at the Welsh Assembly's presiding officer for appointing a second successive Plaid Cymru figure as an adviser.

The party's ex PR chief Elin Roberts will advise Elin Jones, who is Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion while also overseeing Senedd proceedings.

A Welsh Tory spokesman called the appointment a "political stitch up".

But the Assembly Commission said there had been an "open and thorough" process.

Ms Roberts, who was Plaid's head of strategic communications, takes on the role from Rhuanedd Richards, who was the party's chief executive,

The adviser role is a public appointment, meaning the person filling it is required to be politically neutral in the job.

"The nature of both this appointment and the one in 2017 is making the hiring process to look like a bit of a farce," a Welsh Conservative spokesman said.

"It is a huge kick in the teeth for those other candidates that saw themselves as suitable for the role, and will do nothing for the Assembly Commission's reputation amongst potential job seekers, who will see this appointment as a political stitch up and wonder whether to bother making an application in the future."

Image caption,
Rhuanedd Richards was previously chief executive of Plaid Cymru

A spokeswoman for the commission - which is in charge of the institution's day-to-day running - said Ms Roberts was appointed policy and communications adviser "following a thorough selection process".

The role involves supporting the presiding officer, or Llywydd, in planning, developing policies and communications.

"Elin's experience and significant strategic skills will be an asset in planning and delivering this programme of work," the spokeswoman added.

Ms Richards is now editor of BBC Radio Cymru and the Welsh language website BBC Cymru Fyw.

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