Tory leader in Wales to remain in job despite drinking in Senedd during alcohol ban


The Welsh Conservative leader will keep his job despite being caught drinking with colleagues on parliament premises while an alcohol ban was in force.

Paul Davies has been told he has the “unanimous support” of the Welsh Tory group to continue in his role as leader.

It comes after an investigation into allegations that Mr Davies drank alcohol with chief whip Darren Millar, the party’s chief of staff Paul Smith and former Labour Welsh government minister Alun Davies in a Senedd tea room concluded a “possible breach of regulations occurred”.

The incident, on 8 December, came just four days after a ban on the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol on licensed premises came into force, although off-licences were allowed to sell alcohol until 10pm.

In a statement, Llywydd Elin Jones MS said an internal investigation by the Senedd Commission had established that “alcohol was consumed by five individuals”, four of whom were elected members, in the Senedd’s licensed tea room. It is not clear who the fifth individual was.

“The investigation has concluded that a possible breach of regulations occurred and therefore the chief executive of the Senedd Commission has referred the matter to Cardiff Council,” she said.

“The regulations in place at the time imposed strict restrictions on members of the public with regard to the consumption of alcohol.

“Given that the possible breach in question occurred as a result of the consumption of alcohol by members of the Senedd, I have also written to the Standards Commissioner to ask him to investigate whether these members acted in accordance with the duty in the Code of Conduct to conduct themselves in a manner which maintains and strengthens the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of the Senedd.”

Catering company CH&CO Group, which offers catering services at the Senedd estate, previously said it was aware of “an alleged breach of public health regulations” and was investigating.

In a previously issued statement, Paul Davies, Mr Millar and Mr Smith said they were “profoundly sorry” for their actions.

Fellow Conservative MS Nick Ramsay also denied he was part of the group but said had attended the tea room alone for a meal on the same day.

Janet Finch-Saunders, chair of the Welsh Conservative group, said on Friday: “The Welsh Conservative group met today to discuss events involving three members of the group on 8 December.

“The group extended its unanimous support for Paul Davies to continue in his post as leader of the group.”

First minister Mark Drakeford told a press conference in Cardiff that he had “immediately made the decision” to suspend Alun Davies from Welsh Labour’s Senedd group after hearing of the allegations on Monday.

He told reporters he understood a single member of staff was on duty in the tea room at the time of the incident and he was anxious that she did not “carry the can” for what had happened.

Additional reporting by PA


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