A GWENT AM based in Newport has worked up a bill of more than £1,200 staying in Cardiff hotels over a two-year period.

The Argus has discovered, through the Assembly allowance database, that Tory Mohammad Asghar stayed in the city for 20 nights between May, 2012 and November, 2013.

Mr Asghar’s office says the stays were not booked by him but by the Assembly, were within the rules and were to allow him to perform his duties as an AM.

The stays cost £64 a night and £1,280 in total.

In comparison, a 16-minute train journey between Newport and Cardiff Central currently costs £5.40 while a day ticket on a bus from Cardiff Central to the Assembly is £3.60.

Mr Asghar stayed overnight in Cardiff on May 28, October 1, October 15, October 22, October 23, November 5, November 26 and December 3 in 2012 and January 7, January 14, January 21, February 25, March 4, March 20 in 2013. The allowance database shows Mr Asghar also stayed overnight on May 15, May 20, July 17, November 4, November 6 and November 18 in 2013.

Only one other Gwent AM – Islwyn’s Gwyn Price – appears to have claimed through the Cardiff overnight stay allowance during that time, and that was for two nights on January 22 and 23 costing £132.

A spokesman for Mr Asghar said: “The hotel bookings were made by Members Business Services to allow him to perform his duties and were within the rules of the National Assembly.”

Many of the dates coincide with his attendance at public accounts committee meetings, which start at 9am.