world : Politician in expenses probe stripped of Tory job

world : Politician in expenses probe stripped of Tory job
world : Politician in expenses probe stripped of Tory job

Friday 14 June 2024 10:31 PM

Nafeza 2 world - A Welsh Conservative politician has been stripped of her spokesperson job after texts from her phone appeared to show an employee was asked to maximise expenses claims.

Senedd Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said he has asked Laura Anne Jones, who is under investigation by police, to step back from his shadow cabinet.

The messages, reported by BBC Wales on Friday, appeared to show a member of staff being asked: "When doing petrol thing - always make more than I did – add in stuff please ok".

The context for the WhatsApp messages is not evident. Ms Jones' solicitor has previously said she is "satisfied that any allegations in relation to impropriety surrounding expenses are entirely misconceived".

The Member of the Senedd for South Wales East remains a part of the Conservative group in the Welsh Parliament.

Ms Jones has been asked for comment.

Labour's Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens questioned why Ms Jones had not been suspended.

She said: "These latest revelations about a Welsh Conservative politician are deeply alarming."

"Andrew RT Davies must be clear about what he knew about this situation and when he knew it," Ms Stevens added.

The Liberal Democrats have also called for Ms Jones to be suspended.

Mr Davies said: "I have asked Laura Anne Jones to step back from the Welsh Conservative Shadow Cabinet while investigations take place.

"We will not be making any comments on any active investigations being carried out."

BBC Wales cannot verify whether the messages represent the whole conversations between the people involved, nor their full context.

Ms Jones is currently being investigated by the Standards Commissioner Douglas Bain and South Wales Police.

It is understood the investigation by Mr Bain is on hold while the police inquiry is taking place.

Police have spoken to at least one member of Conservative staff. No arrests have been made.

The BBC has been told the original complaint to Mr Bain was in relation to Ms Jones’s handling of allegations of bullying by a senior member of staff.

A lawyer on behalf of Ms Jones previously said in a statement: "Ms Jones did not receive any formal bullying complaint in relation to any of her staff members."

They added that she "is satisfied that any allegations in relation to impropriety surrounding expenses are entirely misconceived".

"Ms Jones’s belief is that these complaints being lodged with the standards commissioner are without foundation.

"As these matters are the subject of ongoing inquiries, it would be inappropriate for Ms Jones to make any further comment.

"Ms Jones has no issue with the BBC or its sources putting these allegations to the police and/or the standards commissioner, which will provide her the opportunity to respond in a formal manner as part of the inquiry should the authorities require it."

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