Politician's PCC threat over expenses questions

A Welsh Assembly member threatened to report his local paper to the Press Complaints Commission after it pressed him for a comment on why he spent almost £5,000 on hotel stays.

The Llanelli Star said Keith Davies refused to speak directly to the paper when it discovered he had spent £4,846 of taxpayers’ money on hotels stays, instead issuing a comment through a Labour spokesman, who defended the AM by claiming other members spent more public money by renting flats.

The Star reported this week that when it pressed the Llanelli Labour AM directly for a comment ‘we were threatened with a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission”.

Llanelli’s former AM, Helen Mary Jones, told the Star: “I always found having an open working relationship with the local press very important when I was an AM.

“I faced some tough questions at times, as is right and proper, but it was always helpful to me, and hopefully to my constituents, for me to communicate directly with them through the press.”

The chairman of the town’s Market and Shopping Precincts Tenants Association, Barrie Lewis, suggested Mr Davies was “bringing Llanelli into disrepute” with his refusal to speak to the paper, adding: ‘Why doesn’t our AM speak directly to the Llanelli Star which represents the voting and listening public of Llanelli?”

In May, Davies was censured by the assembly over a drunken incident that took place at the five-star St David’s Hotel in Cardiff.

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