PLAID Cymru Assembly Member Mohammad Asghar and his daughter Natasha – a former Plaid candidate – have joined the Conservative Party, it was announced today. Mohammad, AM for South Wales East, and Natasha, who stood in Blaenau Gwent at the 2007 Assembly elections and in June’s European elections, were formally welcomed to the Conservative Party at an event in Cardiff today.
Mohammad – known to friends as Oscar – becomes the first sitting Assembly Member to cross the floor and join another party. His defection takes the Welsh Conservative group in the National Assembly to 13 and means the party now has two AMs representing South Wales East.
Mohammad Asghar said: “For some time now I have felt out of tune with the views and policies of Plaid Cymru. My politics are very much in line with wanting a stronger Wales within a successful United Kingdom. I believe that the Welsh Conservative Party in the National Assembly, led by Nick Bourne, reflects my beliefs. I am also attracted by the caring Conservatism and policies for change put forward by David Cameron and the Conservative Party at Westminster. I very much look forward to playing an important role in the shadow team in the National Assembly and to helping to shape the policies for the Assembly elections in 2011.”
Welsh Conservative Assembly leader Nick Bourne said:
“I am absolutely delighted to welcome Oscar and Natasha to the Conservative Party. I am also delighted that Oscar is going to be part of our Assembly team in the run-up to the next Assembly elections. He is a man who commands respect within the Assembly and the communities of South Wales East.
“Natasha is an energetic campaigner and an experienced candidate. I look forward to them both playing an important role in the Conservative Party in the future. Today’s decision is another sign that only the Conservative Party, under David Cameron’s leadership, can bring about the change Wales and Britain needs. We hope others will follow Mohammad and Natasha’s example and join us to make that change happen.”
Last night a Labour councillor in Croydon also crossed the floor to the Conservatives.