Simon Thomas (politician)


Simon George Thomas[1] (born 28 December 1963) is a Welsh former politician who was a member of Plaid Cymru.[2] He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Ceredigion from 2000 to 2005, and an Assembly Member in the National Assembly for Wales representing Mid and West Wales between 2011 and 2018.

Simon Thomas
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for Mid and West Wales
In office
6 May 2011  25 July 2018
Preceded byNerys Evans
Succeeded byHelen Mary Jones
Member of Parliament
for Ceredigion
In office
4 February 2000  11 April 2005
Preceded byCynog Dafis
Succeeded byMark Williams
Personal details
Born (1963-12-28) 28 December 1963 (age 56)
NationalityWelsh
Political partyPlaid Cymru (until 2018)
None (2018-)

He resigned as an Assembly Member and his party membership on 25 July 2018, following arrest by police on suspicion of possession of indecent images.[3] On 3 October 2018, he pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children.[4] On 31 October 2018 he was given a 26-week jail sentence, suspended for two years.[5]

Early life


He went to Aberdare Boys' Grammar School (became Aberdare Boys' Comprehensive School in 1978).[6] At the University of College Wales, Aberystwyth, he gained a BA in Welsh and Education in 1985.[7] He gained a Postgraduate diploma (DipLib) from the College of Librarianship Wales (CLW) in Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth in 1988 (College became part of the university in 1989).[7]

He was assistant curator for the National Library of Wales from 1986–92. From 1992–4, he was Policy and Research Officer for the Taff-Ely borough council. From 1994–2000, he was Rural Development Manager for the JIGSO rural development agency.

Thomas is the father of two children.[4] At the time of his trial, he lived in Penparcau, a village south of Aberystwyth.[4] Locals have raised concern that he lives on the same street as a primary school.[8]

Political career


Thomas was elected as a Councillor in Ceredigion County Council for Aberystwyth East in 1999 and resigned after being elected a Member of Parliament. He was fifth on Plaid Cymru's regional list for Mid and West Wales in the inaugural National Assembly for Wales election in 1999; only list leader Cynog Dafis was elected.[9]

Thomas was first elected as MP for Ceredigion in the 2000 by-election after Dafis stepped down to focus on his role as an Assembly member.[10] He retained the seat for Plaid Cymru at the 2001 election with a reduced majority, and lost it in the 2005 general election to Mark Williams of the Liberal Democrats.[11] During the 2005 general election he wrote a blog on the Channel 4 News website which shows a near daily account of his campaign trail and his thoughts following his defeat.[12]

After the 2007 Welsh Assembly election, Simon Thomas was appointed a special adviser to the Plaid Cymru ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government coalition between his party and Labour.

In September 2010, Simon Thomas was placed at the top of Plaid Cymru's regional list for Mid and West Wales in the 2011 Welsh Assembly election with the incumbent Nerys Evans instead running for the constituency seat of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.[13] He was elected to the National Assembly for Wales.[14]

When a party leadership election was triggered by the resignation of Ieuan Wyn Jones, Thomas announced his candidacy on 1 December 2011.[15] The following 6 February, he withdrew in favour of Elin Jones, running to become her deputy leader.[16] The election was won by Leanne Wood.[17]

In the 2016 Assembly Election, he also contested the constituency of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, coming third as Angela Burns retained it for the Conservatives.[18]

Following the 2016 election he was elected unopposed as chair of the Assembly's Finance Committee,[19] a position he held until July 2018.

United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal


As part of the investigation into United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal, Thomas was found to have over claimed £349.20 in mortgage interest between 2004 and 2005 under the additional costs allowance (ACA). He was recommended to repay this sum, by 1 April 2009 no money was repaid.[20][21]

Arrest and resignation


On 25 July 2018 he resigned as an AM and from Plaid Cymru following his arrest by police on suspicion of possession of indecent images.[3] His seat was taken by Helen Mary Jones, who was next in line on Plaid's regional list.[22]

On 18 September he was charged by Dyfed-Powys Police with three counts of making indecent images of children.[23]

He pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images at Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court on 3 October 2018, having made over 600 such images and videos.[4] On 31 October 2018 he was given a 26-week jail sentence, suspended for two years by Mold Magistrates Courts and ordered to remain on the sex offenders register for seven years.[5]

Electoral performance


Thomas contested several elections under the Plaid Cymru banner:

National Assembly Regional Seats

Date of election Constituency Party Votes % of votes Result
1999 Welsh Assembly election Mid and West Wales Plaid Cymru 84,554 38.5 Not elected[9]
2011 Welsh Assembly election Mid and West Wales Plaid Cymru 56,384 26.7 Elected[24]
2016 Welsh Assembly election Mid and West Wales Plaid Cymru 56,754 26.3 Elected[25]

National Assembly Constituency Seats

Date of election Constituency Party Votes % of votes Result
2016 Welsh Assembly election Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Plaid Cymru 5,459 18.7 Not elected[18]

Westminister Parliament elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes % of votes Result
by-election in February 2000 Ceredigion Plaid Cymru 10,716 42.8 Elected[10]
2001 election Ceredigion Plaid Cymru 13,241 38.3 Elected[26]
2005 election Ceredigion Plaid Cymru 12,911 35.9 Defeated[11]

References


  1. "Former AM Simon Thomas pleads guilty to making indecent images of children". Cambrian News. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  2. "Former Plaid Cymru politician Simon Thomas was charged with making indecent images of children". ITV News. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  3. "Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas quits after indecent images arrest". BBC News. 25 July 2018.
  4. Batchelor, Tom (3 October 2018). "Former Plaid Cymru MP Simon Thomas admits to making more than 600 indecent images of children". The Independent. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  5. "Ex-Plaid AM Simon Thomas sentenced for indecent images". BBC News. 31 October 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  6. "So who are you Simon Thomas". Wales Online. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  7. "Alumni at the Senedd". Aberystwyth University. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  8. Harries, Robert (1 November 2018). "Sex offender who avoided jail term lives yards away from school". Wales Online. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  9. "National Assembly for Wales". Demon. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  10. "'Fair play' won by-election say Plaid". BBC News. 4 February 2000. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  11. "Lib Dems win Cardiff, Ceredigion". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  12. "Simon Thomas, Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion". Channel 4 News. 6 May 2005. Archived from the original on 7 May 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  13. "Dewis cyn-AS yn ymgeisydd cynulliad" (in Welsh). Golwg 360. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  14. "Welsh Tory leader Nick Bourne loses regional seat". BBC News. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  15. "Simon Thomas enters race to become next leader of Plaid Cymru". Wales Online. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  16. "Plaid Cymru: Simon Thomas pulls out of leadership race". BBC. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  17. "Plaid Cymru elect Leanne Wood as new leader". BBC News. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  18. "Election results for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire". National Assembly for Wales. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  19. http://www.assembly.wales/en/bus-home/pages/rop.aspx?meetingid=3612&language=en&assembly=5&c=Record%20of%20Proceedings&startDt=31/05/2016&endDt=28/06/2016#C415899 17:35-17:36
  20. http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2010/02/04/expenses-mps-with-outstanding-balances
  21. Page 168: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tDCdKR7YQaQC&pg=PA168&dq=Simon+Thomas+-+%22%22%22%C2%A3349.20%22%22%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjrrLrb5pfgAhXGxoUKHQw9B0YQ6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q=Simon%20Thomas%20-%20%22%22%22%C2%A3349.20%22%22%22&f=false
  22. "Helen Mary Jones returns as Plaid AM, replacing Simon Thomas". BBC News. 2 August 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  23. "Former Plaid Cymru politician Simon Thomas charged with making indecent images of children". ITV News. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  24. "Election results for Mid and West Wales". National Assembly for Wales. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  25. "Election results for Mid and West Wales". National Assembly for Wales. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  26. "Ceredigion". BBC News. Retrieved 24 September 2018.