Call for inquiry into senior minister over use of taxpayer funded office for party political attack

Labour wants Welsh Secretary David TC Davies to be investigated over an alleged breach of the ministerial code

David Maddox
Political editor
Monday 13 May 2024 22:08 BST
Rishi Sunak refuses to rule out July general election

Labour is pushing for an investigation into Welsh secretary David TC Davies for allegedly breaching the ministerial code.

In yet another problem for prime minister Rishi Sunak, Mr Davies stands accused of misusing a taxpayer funded office for filming an attack on Welsh Labour’s expansion of the Senedd (Welsh Parliament).

The row erupted over the weekend when a source close to Mr Davies reportedly told The Observer that a video posted on X (formerly Twitter) had been filmed in the Welsh Office in Whitehall known as Gwydyr House. The source said that Mr Davies had been forced to make his video in the taxpayer funded office because of “security reasons”, according to The Observer.

However, the ministerial code states: “Ministers are provided with facilities at government expense to enable them to carry out their official duties. These facilities should not generally be used for party or constituency activities.”

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies (PA)
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies (PA) (PA Archive)

The Independent has now seen a letter from shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens to Glynne Jones, director of office of the secretary of state for Wales, asking for an investigation.

Ms Stevens wrote: “As you know, the Ministerial Code states: ‘Ministers are provided with facilities at government expense to enable them to carry out their official duties. These facilities should not generally be used for party or constituency activities.’

“I’m sure you will agree that the secretary of state’s private office in Gwydyr House falls squarely within that definition. You will also know that the exemptions on official residences do not apply in this case. “

She went on: “On 8 May 2024, as you will have read in media reports this weekend, the Welsh secretary posted on the social media site X a video filmed in his private office, which contained explicitly party political content, criticising the Welsh Labour Government for its proposals on Senedd reform, and endorsing the opposition to those proposals from the Welsh Conservative Group. He closed with the line: ‘I know which side I’m on, I wonder what Welsh Labour are going to do today.’”

Ms Stevens suggested that had there been genuine security concerns, the cabinet minister could have made the video in nearby Tory headquarters, CCHQ.

A meeting of the Senedd
A meeting of the Senedd (Matthew Horwood/Welsh Government/PA Wire)

She said: “In your capacity as the director of the secretary of state’s office, can I ask you to establish whether a breach of the Ministerial Code took place in this instance, and if so, what action will be taken to investigate how that happened, to ensure that it never happens again, and to issue a formal apology from the secretary of state.

“In the event that you are unable to make those adjudications yourself, I am copying this letter to the cabinet secretary so that he can either take action himself to rectify any breach of the code, or advise on an investigation by the prime minister’s independent adviser on ministers’ interests. However, I hope this matter can be resolved without requiring escalation to that level. “

The Independent has requested a comment from Mr Davies’ office.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in