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Internal investigation confirms alcohol consumed at Senedd during lockdown

22 Jan 2021 4 minutes Read
The Senedd. Picture by Senedd Cymru.

An internal investigation has established that alcohol was consumed by five people at the Senedd during a lockdown.

According to a statement by Llywydd, Elin Jones MS, four of these are elected members, and the Standards Commissioner will now investigate to see of the Code of Conduct was broken.

It has been concluded that a possible breach of regulations occurred and the matter has also been referred to to Cardiff Council.

It had been alleged that Conservative Senedd leader Paul Davies, Darren Millar and Nick Ramsay were drinking together in early December.

It is understood that Labour Senedd member Alun Davies was involved, and he has been suspended by his party

A solicitor for Conservative Nick Ramsay has issued a statement on behalf of his client, which says that he “sat on his own” and “had a chicken curry”.

In the statement from the Llywydd, Elin Jones MS, regarding drinking on the Senedd estate in December 2020, it said: “The Commission’s internal investigation has established that alcohol was consumed by five individuals in the Senedd’s licensed tearoom, four of whom are elected members.

“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.

“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.”

‘Sorry’ 

Paul Davies, Darren Millar and Paul Smith previously released a statement at the time, saying: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.  While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”

Blaenau Gwent Labour Senedd member Alun Davies said: “I am very sorry if my actions have given the impression that I am in any way not committed to upholding the regulations which I have consistently supported throughout the last year.

“For context, the purpose of this meeting from my perspective was to seek to persuade the Welsh Conservatives to support my proposal for a ‘Welsh Hearts Bill’. This is part of my work across political parties on this issue.

“The Senedd Commission has already confirmed to me that I did not breach the Coronavirus regulations on the consumption of either food or alcohol that were in force at that time. I have also confirmed to the Commission that the regulations on the number of people present and on social distancing were not breached either. I look forward to the Commission’s final conclusions on this matter.”

‘His own’

A solicitor for Conservative Nick Ramsay said: “Mr Ramsay did attend the Tea Room on his own at the Senedd, without invitation after work.

“He sat on his own and was socially distanced. He attended the Tea Room at approximately 6pm. He had a chicken curry.

“He left at about 8pm. Others came in whilst he was there but it was not a “gathering” Mr. Ramsay was part of.”

Janet Finch-Saunders MS, Chair of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Welsh Parliament, issued a statement saying Paul Davies would continue in the post of leader.

“The Welsh Conservative Group met today to discuss events involving three members of the Group on the 8th December,” she said. 

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

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