Jones the Jag 'deceived MPs'

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The Independent Online
Dr Gwyn Jones, dubbed the quango king of Wales, could face a fresh investigation by MPs following allegations that he gave misleading information about his luxury Jaguar car.

The Public Accounts Committee has called for the relevant papers from the producers of an HTV programme, Wales This Week, which suggested that he travelled thousands of miles fewer than claimed.

Dr Jones, once described as Mrs Thatcher's favourite Welshman, was chairman of the Welsh Development Agency from 1988 until he resigned in 1993. The year before he quit, he told the Public Accounts Committee that he was driving "something like 60,000 miles a year" for the WDA, and it was cheaper for the agency to provide him with a Jaguar 3.6 litre Sovereign than pay mileage at 34.4p per mile.

However, Wales This Week tracked down the car, and found from the service book that it had done only 7,568 miles in three-and-a-half months before being sold by Dr Jones.

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee had not been told the full story, it is alleged. "They had asked about an advertisement in which the car was put up for sale by Dr Jones five months after he bought it. What they were not told was that the advert showed that there was only eight thousand miles on the clock," reported the programme.

Alan Williams, Labour MP for Swansea West, said:"I find the mileage to be of such a different magnitude - so much lower than we [on the PAC] were told about - that I think it raises the issue of whether we should not call people back and ask them to explain what was going on."

Mr Williams has arranged for the evidence to be handed over in London tomorrow. "There are questions that need to be answered. The committee will decide, in the light of the evidence, whether to reopen the inquiry."

Dr Jones was unavailable for comment last night.