Carwyn Jones has revealed that he doesn't have a personal mobile phone after he was questioned by the Conservatives about whether he used his government-issued phone when he's dealing with Labour party matters.
I would ... appreciate some urgent clarity regarding this matter. If you do conduct Labour Party and/or personal business using a government phone this would have serious consequence and would be contrary to various sections of the Welsh Government’s Ministerial Code.
According to a Welsh Government spokesperson, Carwyn Jones is allowed to use his official phone to call, text email and tweet on party matters because it's important that the First Minister only ever uses a secure device that's protected against hacking.
The First Minister does not have a personal mobile phone. As First Minister, he is provided with a Government issued smart phone that is encrypted and securely configured to prevent hacking. The First Minister is permitted to make non-Government calls from this smart phone and, due to the nature of the Government’s mobile call contract tariff, there is no extra cost to the tax-payer.
Andrew RT Davies has called on Carwyn Jones to refer the matter to the independent adviser who's been appointed to investigate potential breaches of the ministerial code. He described the Welsh Government's response as "shocking".
This is a shocking statement, and it appears to amount to a tacit admission that the First Minister breached the Ministerial Code on three separate counts. What’s also concerning is the argument that it’s somehow unimportant that he uses a government mobile to conduct party business because it doesn’t cost the taxpayer any extra money. It’s against the Ministerial Code to use the Welsh Government’s resources for party political purposes. Full stop.
There's some support from outside the Conservative party for Mr Davies' argument that it's not the cost of the phone calls or texts that's the issue but rather the question of what's allowed under the Ministerial Code. One source within Welsh Labour confirmed that the First Minister has regularly used his phone for calls and texts on Labour Party issues. The source added that it's difficult to see how the use of a government phone is compatible with the Ministerial Code.