Lindsay Whittle, the Plaid Cymru leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, has called for Welsh Assembly Member Mohammad Asghar to quit his South Wales East regional seat after he joined the Conservatives.
Councillor Whittle, who is Plaid’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Caerphilly, said: “I was disappointed and shocked today to hear that Mohammad Asghar had defected to the Tories.
“Mohammad Asghar should do the decent thing and resign because he was only elected on the Plaid ticket. In fact, the electors of South-East Wales decided in 2007 to elect a single Conservative Assembly Member rather than two candidates.
“Voters put an ‘x’ in the Plaid box not the Mohammad Asghar box so he has no mandate. Not to quit now would be flouting the views of the people.
“I was one of his main supporters and a good friend. I spent considerable time phoning Pakistan and their embassy when he was in the bomb blast that killed Benazir Bhutto and wept tears of joy on hearing he was alive. I feel let down. He has disregarded our friendship. No wonder public lack confidence in politicians who have no principles.
“Councillor Colin Mann, who is Deputy Leader of Caerffili council, was next on Plaid’s regional list at the last elections and is waiting to take up the party’s seat as soon as Mohammad Asghar steps down.
“Colin would make a really excellent Assembly Member for south-east Wales because he is in touch with the needs of people in this area.”
Newport-based Mr Asghar, who is known as Oscar in Cardiff Bay, crossed the floor and left Plaid for the Tories on Tuesday – the same day as Rhodri Morgan stood down as First Minister.
He told a press conference that he wanted a “strong Wales within a successful United Kingdom”.
He added: “For some time I have felt out of tune with the views and policies of Plaid Cymru.”