Welsh Tory leader quits over drinking row

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives has resigned after he drank alcohol on the Senedd estate days after a pub alcohol ban came into force.

Paul Davies said the controversy over the events of last month had become a “distraction” and that he is standing down with “immediate effect” despite appeals from colleagues to continue.

He was among a group of politicians who drank alcohol on the estate of the Welsh parliament following the pub alcohol ban.

Mr Davies said in a statement: “Yesterday I indicated to the Conservative group in the Welsh Parliament that I wished to resign, but they urged me to reflect further, and we agreed to meet again on Monday.

“However, for the sake of my party, my health and my own conscience, I simply cannot continue in post.

“Therefore, I am stepping down as leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament with immediate effect.”

Tory chief whip Darren Millar said he is also stepping down from his frontbench role in the Senedd.

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He said he joined working dinners on December 8 and 9, adding: “On both evenings I served myself a pre-ordered, pre-prepared meal that was reheated in the microwave and ate it while drinking an alcoholic beverage and discussing work matters with colleagues.

“Social distancing was maintained throughout these working dinners and it simply did not occur to either me, my colleagues or the catering team that the arrangements may have been inappropriate.”

His statement added: “While I am advised that I did not breach coronavirus regulations I am very sorry for my actions, especially given the impact of the tough restrictions that people and businesses are enduring.

“For this reason, and given that Paul Davies has resigned as Welsh Conservative Group leader in the Senedd, I have decided to step down from my front-bench role in the Welsh Parliament.

“I am co-operating fully with ongoing investigations and will continue to do so.”


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