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Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister under investigation by police and Standards Commissioner

17 May 2024 4 minute read
Shadow Minister for Culture, Tourism, Sport & Social Justice Laura Anne Jones – Senedd Cymru

Emily Price

A Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister is under investigation by South Wales Police and the Senedd’s Standards Commissioner for allegedly falsifying expenses claims.

Officers were called in to investigate Shadow Culture Minister Laura Anne Jones after messages came to light that appeared to show she had instructed one of her staff to claim mileage expenses for journeys she had not taken.

We understand that several Welsh Tory staff members have been questioned by police in relation to the matter.

A senior Welsh Conservative source told Nation.Cymru that prior to police involvement, a complaint had been put in to the Senedd’s Standards Commissioner relating to a staffer working for Ms Jones who was dismissed after allegedly raising bullying allegations against another member of the Tories’ Senedd staff.

We were told that the Commissioner was forced to pause his probe when a message sent by Ms Jones came to light in which she instructed her staffer to falsify an expenses claim for mileage.

A Tory source said: “Essentially she told her staffer to make it up.”

Complaints

The Senedd Commissioner for Standards, Douglas Bain is an independent person appointed by the Welsh Parliament to investigate complaints about the conduct of Members of the Senedd.

The process is highly confidential with no details made public until the Commissioner has reached a conclusion.

A Senedd Member’s expenses are funded by the tax payer and determined by the Independent Remuneration Board of the Senedd.

Claims can only be made for expenditure which is “necessary” in order for them to carry out their duties as Members “acting in the interests of the people of Wales”.

Expenses

Members must ensure that any expenditure incurred provides “value for money to the taxpayer” and represents the most sustainable and reasonable option available.

Most expenses have to be accompanied by a receipt but MSs are not required to provide supporting receipts for the reimbursement of costs relating to mileage claims for use of private vehicles.

False accounting is a criminal office regardless of how much money is involved.

Nation.Cymru understand the Standards Commissioner’s investigation of the Tory MS began over a month ago whilst South Wales Police began their own investigation around “two or three weeks ago”.

Probes

Ms Jones has continued in her role as Shadow Minister for Culture, Tourism, Sport and Social Justice during this time despite the two separate probes.

The MS for South Wales East recently had her portfolio slimmed down after her shadow education role was handed to another shadow cabinet member during a Welsh Tory reshuffle.

It is understood there is unrest amongst senior Welsh Conservatives over why Ms Jones has not had the whip withdrawn whilst the two investigations play out.

One Tory source told us the allegations against Ms Jones were, “the worst kept secret on the Welsh Conservative corridor”.

Action

The Leader of the Tory Senedd group, Andrew RT Davies is said to be waiting for both investigations to reach a conclusion before taking any action.

We asked Laura Anne Jones for a statement in relation to both the police investigation into claims she had falsified her mileage claim and the probe by the Standards Commissioner into the dismissal of her staffer.

She said: “I would cooperate fully with any investigation into my activities as a Member of the Senedd, were they to happen, as would be expected of any Member.

“The standards process is confidential, and I would expect others not to provide a running commentary, or they may risk jeopardising the integrity of that process.”

A South Wales Police spokesperson said: “South Wales Police has received information from the Senedd Commissioner for Standards which is currently under investigation.”


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Steve Thomas
Steve Thomas
1 month ago

It’s the nature of the beast-all tories are basically dishonest ad on the make

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Thomas

Plus the Labour party!

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

I thought the culture of entitlement prevalent at Y Senedd dictated a “help yerself, fill yer boots” attitude. Obviously some of the A.S’s feel that they are entitled to even more despite some semblance of rules in place. Further enhancement of their image of integrity.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

No, it’s just the dirty filthy tories up to their dirty filthy tricks. Again.

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Hmm. Old employ, this was a meeting with Finance, HR and a rep and the door out the company firmly open with the boot ready to push you out.

Il vostro
Il vostro
1 month ago

HAHAHAHA

Vic king
Vic king
1 month ago
Reply to  Il vostro

Another Tory s**g wit there hsnds in the till allegedly first minister no better

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

Wel pa syndod. Run rhen giwed.

Annon
Annon
1 month ago

She’s a crook! She prances around acting like she’s a victim. Just a shame the Tory’s can’t grow a backbone and sack her!

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

Oh is this Laura Anne Jones who, along with Tom Giffard and Natasha Asghar, attended the October 2023 protest outside Y Senedd with Y Ddraig Goch paraded upside down as an insult to our country? Yes, I thought it was.

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