MP JONATHAN Edwards has called for “ministerial intervention” after it emerged Carmarthenshire County Council chief executive Mark James – who is no longer undertaking his duties due to a police investigation – will continue to be the local returning officer for May’s European election.

Mr James last month “stepped aside” from his £180,000-a-year post while Gloucestershire Police investigate Wales Audit Office claims of two unlawful transactions.

“The public may well have questions about the suitability of the chief executive to undertake this role while police investigate whether any criminal activity has taken place,” said Mr Edwards.

“For me the matter boils down to whether the chief executive can undertake the role logistically and maintain the integrity of a police investigation whilst not at his desk.

“Councillors have been told the chief executive is not to have contact with any member of staff – it is therefore impossible to see how he can conduct the election properly if that is indeed the case.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Mr Mark James will be the local returning officer at the forthcoming elections. This is a separate role to that of chief executive.”