A GWENT MS who allegedly drank wine at the Welsh Parliament days after a pub alcohol ban had come into force displayed “very serious, poor behaviour”, according to a former standards official.

Alun Davies, MS for Blaenau Gwent, allegedly consumed alcohol with Welsh Conservatives leader Paul Davies, chief whip Darren Millar and the party’s chief of staff Paul Smith in a Senedd tea room.

The incident happened on December 8, four days after a ban on the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol on licensed premises came into force, although off-licences were allowed to sell alcohol until 10pm.

All four men deny breaking coroanvirus rules and say they observed social distancing while meeting to discuss working together on a proposed bill, and consumed alcohol not bought from parliament premises.

On Tuesday, Welsh Labour said Alun Davies had been suspended from its group in the Senedd pending an investigation.

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told BBC Radio Wales: “I think it’s very serious, poor behaviour by a group of politicians.

“I think it’s a serious matter which requires speedy investigation and action if necessary.

“I think the public hate hypocrisy, they hate being told to abide by the rules by all of the politicians and then suddenly they find examples of where it looks like the rules may have been broken, or the behaviour has been inappropriate given the the decision being taken to ban the sale of alcohol.

“I think it is very unfortunate indeed and I would have thought it was probably a breach of the code for members of the assembly by bringing the Senedd into disrepute.”

Sir Alistair said a period of suspension from the Senedd could be required “to show how strongly everybody feels about their behaviour”.

He added: “With elections coming up, the question must arise about are these suitable people to represent the two parties concerned.”

He said it was “appropriate” for Alun Davies to be suspended from the Welsh Labour group in the Senedd pending an investigation, adding: “The Conservatives should have done the same.

“Wales is in a crisis, the rest of the UK is in a crisis with the Covid situation.

“Everybody sticking to the rules saves lives. Being seen to be casual about the rules puts lives at risk. This is a very serious matter which should be resolved very quickly.”

On Tuesday, Mr Davies said the Senedd Commission had already confirmed to him that he did not breach coronavirus regulations.


He 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' which the Senedd endorsed on 21 October and to make a commitment to enact this life-saving legislation in their manifesto for May’s election.

"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.”

A Welsh Conservatives source told the PA news agency that the group believed they had not broken Covid-19 rules because the alcohol was not bought from the Senedd site nor was it served by catering staff.

A statement on behalf of Paul Davies, Darren Millar, and Paul Smith said: “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.”