Alun Davies, a Labour member of the Welsh parliament, has been suspended from his Welsh parliamentary group over allegations that he and Conservative colleagues breached coronavirus rules.
Three politicians and a Tory official are understood to have gathered in a Welsh Senedd building in December, where they may have met socially and had drinks – though Davies has said it was a work meeting.
A spokesperson for the Senedd Labour group said: “A member has been suspended from the privileges of Senedd Labour group membership while an investigation takes place into this alleged incident.”
Davies commented: “I am very sorry if my actions have given the impression that I am in any way not committed to upholding the regulations which I have consistently supported throughout the last year.
“For context, the purpose of this meeting from my perspective was to seek to persuade the Welsh Conservatives to support my proposal for a “Welsh Hearts Bill”, which the Senedd endorsed on 21 October, and to make a commitment to enact this life-saving legislation in their manifesto for May’s election. This is part of my work across political parties on this issue.
“The Senedd Commission has already confirmed to me that I did not breach the coronavirus regulations on the consumption of either food or alcohol that were in force at that time.
“I have also confirmed to the Commission that the regulations on the number of people present and on social distancing were not breached either. I look forward to the Commission’s final conclusions on this matter.”
A spokesman from the Welsh Conservatives also released a statement on behalf of their members, Paul Davies, Darren Millar and Paul Smith, which said: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.
“While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”
The Senedd Commission said: “We are aware of an incident on the Senedd estate last month which may have been contrary to public health regulations in force at the time.
“The Senedd Commission takes the public health regulations in Wales very seriously and is currently investigating the matter in order to establish an accurate account of what took place and to determine whether action may be required.”
The Welsh parliament has entered full lockdown since the gathering took place. All of Wales is currently in lockdown, in which everyone is advised to stay at home and school pupils are learning remotely.
On Sunday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “This week we’ve started to see encouraging signs of improvement in most parts of Wales. But we mustn’t let our guard down – the situation can change quickly.”