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Andrew RT Davies predicts new First Minister ‘before the year is out’

15 May 2024 5 minute read
Left: Andrew RT Davies – Right: Vaughan Gething

Emily Price

The leader of the Conservative Senedd group, Andrew RT Davies has predicted there may be a new First Minister of Wales “before the year is out”.

In an opinion column penned for the Conservative Home website, the Welsh Tory leader launched a scathing attack on Mr Gething, tearing into the opening weeks of his so far tumultuous tenure.

Mr Davies opened his piece by praising Welsh Labour for historically having “a level of discipline that has to be admired.”

However, he went on to write, that the discipline had “evaporated” since Mr Gething took office after becoming “embroiled in a donations scandal that is tearing his government apart”.

National news

In March, Mr Gething made national news after Nation.Cymru revealed how a signifiant donation made to his election campaign totalling £200,000 came from a company run by a man twice convicted for environmental offences.

We later reported that the same company was £400,000 in debt to the Development Bank of Wales – a bank wholly owned by the Welsh Government.

The loan was awarded to the company when Mr Gething was the Economy Minister.

During the First Minister’s Labour leadership campaign he was able to raise over £250,000. His opponent, Jeremy Miles, raised just under £60,000.

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives branded the amount of donations received by Mr Gething “an absolutely colossal sum”.

In his opinion article, he wrote: “In 2018, Mark Drakeford spent £25,000 during his leadership campaign. Carwyn Jones, who was in charge before Drakeford, spent less than £15,000.

“Miles, Gething’s leadership rival, raised just under £60,000 for the battle. Despite having much deeper pockets than his competition, Gething won the contest only by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.”

Quizzed

Mr Davies went on to write that First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) had “descended into a farce” on April 30 when Mr Gething was repeatedly quizzed on “matters directly linked to his own donors.”

One of Mr Gething’s own backbenchers, Julie Morgan raised the issue of disabled constituent, Ryan Moorland, who been refused a taxi to an urgent medical appointment.

The firm, Veezu Holding Limited, donated £25,000 to the First Minister’s leadership campaign.

On the same day, Labour back bencher, John Griffiths raised the issue of the Gwent Levels in Newport – a site which many Welsh politicians, including former First Minister Mark Drakeford, have been fighting to protect.

Mr Gething told the Senedd he “recognised the importance of the site” but it was pointed out later during the session that the First Minister had accepted the £200,000 donation from a man was convicted for dumping toxic sludge in the sensitive wetlands site.

Later, a Welsh Conservative MS raised the issue of a landfill site in Haverfordwest that is leaving locals “on all fours throwing their guts up” because of the noxious odours emanating there.

Several public health warnings have been issued to residents living near the site and Natural Resources Wales says it’s monitoring the situation.

Review

Withyhedge landfill is owned by Resources Management (UK) Ltd which is part of the Cardiff-based Dauson Environmental Group who made the “dodgy donation” to Mr Gething’s  leadership campaign.

The First Minister says all donations were recorded and registered appropriately and  rejected calls from opposition parties for an independent probe into the donation scandal.

Carwyn Jones, a former Welsh First Minister has been appointed to carry out a review of how the Welsh Labour’s elections are carried out, including examining campaign financing.

Influence

Reflecting on the growing pressure faced by Wales’ new First Minister, the Welsh Tory leader wrote: “I’m not accusing the First Minister of wrongdoing. But a reasonable person might feel, when presented with these facts, that there are questions to answer here about what influence, if any, has been bought.

“The First Minister of Wales is judge, jury and executioner when it comes to the Ministerial Code. So the Welsh Conservatives have tried to persuade Gething to appoint an independent person to investigate and give him a clean bill of health. This isn’t unheard of; in fact Carwyn Jones, the former first minister, did exactly that during his time at the helm.

“So last week we held a debate during our opposition time to get some answers and to give Labour the chance to give the people of Wales the answers they deserve.

“In his arrogance, he didn’t even show up to the debate. He appeared in the chamber shortly before it was time to cast his vote against giving the people of Wales answers.”

The most recent FMQs sessions on Tuesday (May 14) saw no sign of pressure letting up for Mr Gething with a further barrage of questions aimed at him on the convicted polluter who donated to his campaign and the ongoing issues at Withyhedge Landfill.

Mr Davies says Welsh Labour are “at breaking point” over the ongoing saga.

Signing off his opinion column, Mr Davies wrote: “It’s not washing with the average punter in the street, and it clearly isn’t washing with people within his own party.

“With Welsh Labour at breaking point over this saga, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that another first minister may have to step down before the year is out.”


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Llyn
Llyn
6 days ago

I think we can file this one under “deflection politics”.

Marc
Marc
6 days ago

If there is a new first minister before the year is out, I predict it won’t be Andrew R2D2

Drych
Drych
6 days ago

I predict here on “ Wales Home “ that ARTD will still be “ Leader of the Tory Gang “ by the end of the Year ……

….. anyone taking bets ?

Annibendod
Annibendod
6 days ago

Be great if they were both gone by the end of this week quite frankly. RT is a fine one for pointing out other people’s flaws. First take the plank out of your own eye!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 days ago

Well any new First Minister will certainly not be you Andrew RT Davies. You are a poor man’s Mystic Meg. But who can recall this wise sage when he stated with certainty, and I quote: “Wales needs a bit of Dom” in reference to Dominic ” I’ve got Covid so must travel with my young family hundreds of miles to Barnard Castle in Northumberland to test my eyesight” Cummings only fit him to be sacked revealing the corruption, sleaze & partying at No-10 during the pandemic. What about the last 2021 Senedd election when Andrew RT Davies stated during an… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by Y Cymro
Jeff
Jeff
6 days ago

Not sure he has a monopoly on trouble brewing.

but he thought truss was on a roll, got that wrong. Wanted to wait see the evidence for boris “there were no parties” johnson before making a judgement. Championed brexit, hows that going. Trumpets for braverman and BFF with 30p and likes blankets.

David
David
6 days ago

If ARTD is referrimg to VG will not be FM at the end of the year. Then that is true. He (VG) will be replaced by another Labour MS.

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