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Thursday, 7 December, 2000, 21:56 GMT
Plaid leader faces earnings' inquiry
Ieuan Wyn Jones, president of Plaid Cymru
Ieuan Wyn Jones failed to declare earnings
Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones is facing an investigation by parliament's standards watchdog for failing to declare earnings of up to 400 a week for writing a newspaper column.

Mr Jones is paid between 15,000 and 20,000 a year for his weekly column in the News of the World but fails to declare the income in the register of MPs' interests.

He does not keep the money himself but uses it to employ staff.

He registered it in the National Assembly Register of Members' Interests last week - three months after he started to write the column and two months later than required to do so.

Assembly rules say new interests should be declared within four weeks.

MP's register

Mr Jones inherited the column from the former party leader, Dafydd Wigley, who declared both the column and the income at Westminster.

MPs are also required to lodge their employment agreement with Parliament's Commissioner for Standards within four weeks of taking it up.

Mr Jones registers only "occasional broadcasting and media work" in the MPs' register.

The Labour MP for Clwyd West, Gareth Thomas, said Mr Jones should explain why he had not declared a substantial sum.

Gareth Thomas MP
Gareth Thomas MP: Demanding an explanation

Mr Thomas said he expected a complaint to be made to the Commissioner on Standards, Elizabeth Filkin.

A Welsh Labour spokesman said one of their MPs would make an official complaint to the Commissioner shortly.

A spokeswoman for Mrs Filkin said, "If they (MPs) do an article on a regular basis, the publication should be named and they should deposit an employment argemment if they are writing on politics or any subject of public affairs."

If she receives a complaint, she will investigate it and report to MPs on the Commons standards and privileges committee.

They would then consider the case and recommend any sanctions to be voted on by the whole House of Commons.

Mr Jones declined to be interviewed but did issue a statement in which he confirmed that he hadbeen writing a column for the Wales edition of the News of the World since the end of August.

" I have already registered this in the National Assembly Register of Interests and I have now taken steps to register it in the House of Commons Register of Interests," the statement said.

He registered the column in the Assembly Register on November 28.

His entry does not say how much he is paid by the News of the World, but he is not required to list this in Cardiff, although he is in Westminster.

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