Page last updated at 15:42 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

No music on Tory 'expenses' iPod

Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne
No hip hop for Nick Bourne on the iPod he bought with AMs' expenses

The Welsh Conservative leader has reassured taxpayers that the iPod he bought on assembly members' expenses does not have any music on it.

"I think people perhaps have a vision of Nick Bourne listening to hip hop music. That is not the case," he said.

"There is no music on the iPod - it is political speeches and it is to help me learn Welsh," he told BBC Radio Wales.

He also said he did not think party members would try to oust him, despite speculation over his future.

Mr Bourne was heavily criticised after it emerged in a breakdown of assembly members' allowances that as well as the iPod, he had spent a total of more than 5,000 over the past two years on his bathroom and also bought a 120 trouser press.

In October, senior party officials discussed Mr Bourne's future after a party dossier attacked Rhodri Morgan.

I am not saying there is not an issue to address, of course there is but there are much more important issues

Nick Bourne AM, Conservatives

At the time, Mr Bourne apologised for the document, which was approved by him, and which referred to the First Minister as the "clown Prince of Wales".

He told the Richard Evans programme on BBC Radio Wales on Monday that the party had put the controversy behind them.

"I have apologised on the dossier thing," he said.

"That was a bad judgement on my part and it was unfair in relation to the way my team in the assembly were performing.

"I am very happy with our media operation. I am very happy with the team of assembly members. We have to put all that behind us, we have to move forward."

Mr Bourne, who represents Mid and West Wales, added that he had spoken to all the Conservative assembly members over the weekend and called for "perspective and objectivity" on the issue of AMs' expense claims.

"I am not saying there is not an issue to address, of course there is but there are much more important issues," he said.

An independent review is currently being carried out into AMs' pay and expenses by Sir Roger Jones, Swansea University's pro-chancellor.

Mr Bourne said he was "certain" the committee would tighten the rules on AMs' expenses and he would support this.

When asked if he had regrets over the expense claim, Mr Bourne said he looked forward to a change in the rules.

"We all learn lessons and that is why we are having the expenses looked at across the board.

"I hope when the process is completed, people will be far happier about it."

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