By Dan MoffatBBC News

Senedd Cymru Laura Anne JonesSenedd Cymru

Laura Anne Jones has lost her Conservative shadow cabinet role in the Senedd since the investigation was announced

The Conservative Party is taking a police investigation into the expenses of one of its members seriously, according to a fellow Tory Member of the Senedd (MS).

Laura Anne Jones was stripped of her shadow cabinet role on Friday after texts from her phone appeared to show an employee was asked to maximise expenses claims.

A solicitor on behalf of Ms Jones has said she “is satisfied that any allegations in relation to impropriety surrounding expenses are entirely misconceived”.

North Wales MS Sam Rowlands told BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement that any action would be taken when investigations finish.

Ms Jones, an MS for South Wales East, is under investigation by police over allegations concerning her expenses.

One message asked a staff member: “When doing petrol thing – always make more than I did – add in stuff please ok”.

The context for the WhatsApp messages is not evident.

Mr Rowlands said: “She’s been removed from the shadow cabinet in the Senedd, and work is under way to understand what is going on, that is being done independently, and I’m sure appropriate action will be taken as a result of that.

“All we’ve seen so far is a few screenshots of some messages.

“We need to understand the detail of that before appropriate action is taken.

“The shadow cabinet is an important role in the Senedd, so Laura being removed from that post is a significant move and shows the seriousness [with] which this is being considered.”

Screenshot of messages

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

Mr Rowlands was also pressed on why Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies has removed Ms Jones from her shadow cabinet role but not suspended her from the Conservative group.

He said: “Removing that role in the shadow cabinet is a real significant step.”

Asked if that decision undermined Mr Davies’s postion when he is questioning the integrity and judgement of First Minister Vaughan Gething, Mr Rowlands said: “Andrew RT Davies’s integrity and judgement is absolutely important within this and I’m sure he is reviewing the detail as it comes to light and will take steps as and when it is absolutely necessary.”

Meanwhile, Mr Rowlands also said Conservative general election candidate Craig Williams betting on the date of the next general election had been a “huge error of judgement on his part”.

“The issues around Craig have been raised on the door,” said Mr Rowlands.

“But more people are interested in the record of government here in Wales.”

Mr Williams, who was an aide to the prime minister in the last Parliament, and is standing in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, previously admitted it had been a “huge error of judgement”.



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