Yesterday morning the Welsh Assembly Tory group unanimously backed the leader of the party following revelations of a night of drinking in the Senedd days after the pub ban. This morning after Guido’s exclusive yesterday that Welsh Tory Leader Paul Davies took part in a second night of drinking in the Senedd, he has now resigned together with his drinking buddy Darren Millar, the Tory chief whip. Read his statement in full:
Guido can reveal that Welsh Tory leader Paul Davies and Chief Whip Darren Millar did not spend just one night drinking together in December after the Welsh drinking ban had been imposed. Both men returned to the same room for a further evening of drinks on the following evening, without Labour MS Alun Davies or Tory MS Nick Ramsay in attendance this time. The original three Tory MS’s have given Guido a statement claiming they:
“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”.
That statement may now need to be updated to “two days” however, after a Welsh Conservative Group spokesperson admitted that:
“Self-serve catering arrangements were available for Senedd Members on both 8th and the 9th December. Both Paul Davies and Darren Millar used these on both dates and Nick Ramsay used them on the 8th.”
The spokesman did, however, say that that “there was no evening of drinks on either the 8th or the 9th December”, insisting the evening was for work. They added that “the members concerned did not breach coronavirus regulations but have apologised for any negative impression that may have been given. They are cooperating fully with an investigation and will continue to do so.”
Earlier today the Welsh Tory Assembly group met and “extended its unanimous support for Paul Davies to continue in his post as Leader of the Group”. Guido wonders how long that line will hold…
Welsh Parliament member Alun Davies is on the brink of suspension after holding a drinks party until 2 am in the Welsh Parliament’s Members’ Tea Room, Guido understands. Davies had been a forceful critic of the Cummings Barnard Castle affair. Guido is told other members may have been there too. Developing…
UPDATE: ITV is now reporting that Senedd officials are investigating the incident. Guido hears the investigation was sparked by the assembly’s catering staff who complained they were put in a difficult position as they tried to close the tearoom at 6 pm as per the rules
UPDATE II: Tory MS’s in attendance are understood to have been Tory leader Paul Davies, Chief Whip Darren Millar and Nick Ramsay.
UPDATE III: Alun Davies has been suspended. Full statement from Senedd Labour Group Spokesperson:
“A member has been suspended from the privileges of Senedd Labour Group membership while an investigation takes place into this alleged incident.”