Page last updated at 20:20 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

iPod claim row AMs pay back money

Nick Bourne (left) and Alun Cairns.
Nick Bourne (left) and Alun Cairns claimed iPods worth a combined 398

Two assembly members who were criticised for claiming their iPods on expenses have have paid the money back to the Welsh assembly.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Nick Bourne and his Tory colleague Alun Cairns claimed a total of 398 in office costs.

They have now reimbursed the assembly and have also donated money to charity.

Mr Bourne said although the claims were within the rules, both he and Mr Cairns wanted to apologise to the public.

"Although the purchase of these iPods was within the rules of the assembly and authorised by the Fees Office, I recognise the perception that this expenditure was inappropriate," said Mr Bourne, who represents Mid and West Wales.

"Alun Cairns and I have decided therefore to reimburse the National Assembly for these items in addition to the charitable donations we have made.

"We apologise to the people of Wales and look forward to the results of Sir Roger Jones' inquiry into Assembly Members allowances."

Stricter rules

He added that the Conservative group will be bringing forward its own stricter rules in advance of Sir Roger Jones' report, which will be published after a review of AMs' pay and allowances is carried out.

Questions were raised about Mr Bourne's future as party leader after a breakdown of assembly members' expenses was made public.

As well as the iPod, it emerged he had spent more than 5,000 over the past two years on his bathroom and also bought a 120 trouser press.

It came only weeks after he had to apologise following a row over an internal document the party issued about First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

After the criticism, Mr Bourne donated 250 to the NSPCC and said he had bought the iPod to learn Welsh.

Mr Cairns, AM for South Wales West, is giving 200 to the Help the Heroes charity.



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