Conservative AM has accepted more free international rugby tickets than any other UK parliamentarian
A Conservative AM has accepted twice as many free international rugby tickets than any other UK parliamentarian.
The research by Nation.Cymru comes after Paul Davies, leader of the Conservative group in the Assembly, said his party would “end the Assembly gravy train” if they won power at next year’s elections.
Former Tory group leader Andrew RT Davies received 15 tickets with hospitality included to eight Wales rugby matches during this Assembly term, the register of interests shows.
He received tickets to four Six Nations matches for free since 2016, including the recent loss to France, as well as four Autumn internationals against Australia, South Africa and Japan.
Four sets of tickets and hospitality were provided to him by the WRU, while the others were given by S4C, GE Aviation, NatWest and Bute Energy.
That is double the number of international rugby matches seen for free by any member of either the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly or UK Parliament.
Plaid Cymru AM and leader Adam Price and Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, Stephen Doughty, have both seen four matches for free over the same period.
The Assembly register of interest also shows that Andrew RT Davies has more entries under category four – gifts, hospitality, material benefit or advantage – than any other AM since 2016.
As well as rugby tickets, he also received a ticket and hospitality to a Wales football match from the FAW, taking his total entries to nine.
Adam Price and Vaughan Gething have the joint second highest number of entries with six, while Tory AMs Darren Millar and David Melding, Labour AM Jane Bryant and Welsh National Party AM Neil McEvoy all have five entries.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by RT Davies but the figures will raise eyebrows further after his successor as Tory group leader, Paul Davies, vowed last week to “end the Assembly gravy train.”
Nation has already revealed that the average Tory AMs claims more in expenses than those from any other party.
Responding to the criticism in an article for Nation, Paul Davies said his opponents had gone “on the offensive by getting a bit personal.”
“I told some hard truths to members of the Cardiff Bay Bubble,” he wrote. “The Bubble is a fragile and delicate entity, and is fiercely protected by the elite within it – and by those who wish to be in it.”
In the Welsh Assembly, five AMs have seen two international rugby matches for free since 2016, while a further seven have received tickets for one match.
In the UK Parliament, three MPs have received tickets for two matches, while 15 MPs have received tickets for one match.
In the Scottish Parliament, a further four MSPs have received tickets for two matches, while four have received tickets to one.
SNP MSP and rugby enthusiast Maree Todd, who travelled to Cardiff for last weekend’s cancelled match, has received free tickets to three internationals since 2016.
No member of the Northern Ireland Assembly has declared any free rugby tickets.