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Civil servants “astonished” as ex-Vaughan Gething aide is appointed head of Welsh Government’s office in India

25 Feb 2024 4 minute read
Mitch Theaker

Martin Shipton

Civil servants have expressed astonishment that the director of Vaughan Gething’s campaign when he first stood for the leadership of Welsh Labour is now head of the Welsh Government’s office in India.

Mitch Theaker, who ran Mr Gething’s bid when he stood against current First Minister Mark Drakeford in 2018, had no diplomatic or civil service experience when appointed to the role, having spent much of his time since graduating from Swansea University working for the Labour Party or Labour politicians.

Nation.Cymru was contacted by a former civil servant who found out about Mr Theaker’s role in India from former colleagues who still work for the Welsh Government.

Political stance

The former civil servant told us: “He certainly has a strange CV for a serving civil servant. It shows a political stance from the off which is generally frowned upon.

“People still inside the civil service have told me they find it amazing that he was appointed to the India job from a Spad role [a political advisor to Labour ministers in the Welsh Government]. This is highly unusual and there’s a suggestion that wheels have been oiled. Welsh Government overseas jobs are very lucrative and prized positions.

“On his LinkedIn profile he describes himself as a diplomat, which seems a bit of a stretch given that he had no experience in the diplomatic service.”

Mr Theaker read politics at Swansea University and was elected as a Labour councillor in Swansea while still a student, being quickly promoted to the cabinet.

After a stint working as a student recruitment manager at Sheffield University and later for an international student recruitment company, he became the full-time director of Mr Gething’s leadership campaign for seven months in 2018. He then worked as a Labour Party coordinator for the People’s Vote group, which campaigned unsuccessfully for a second EU referendum.

Political stance

From June 2019 he worked as a special adviser to Labour ministers, including Eluned Morgan when she was the Minister for International Relations. In April 2023 he took up his post as head of the Welsh Government’s office in Mumbai, where he will welcome Baroness Morgan as Health Minister when she launches a “Wales in India” programme to coincide with St David’s Day. The Baroness is a supporter of Mr Gething’s current leadership bid.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “We don’t normally comment on staffing matters, but I can confirm that Mitch applied for the position, which was advertised on a competitive basis, and was interviewed and subsequently appointed on a two-year fixed term contract. It’s a Grade 7 position, which has a salary band of between around £50k and £60k.

“We operate a network of 21 international offices predominantly located within the UK Embassy and High Commission network. Mitch was the special adviser working on the development of the international relations strategy for Eluned Morgan.”

Port Talbot steelworks

Asked whether Mr Theaker had been involved in seeking to secure the future of Port Talbot steelworks, which is owned by Mumbai-based Tata Steel, the spokesman said: “Yes, as you would expect, we are doing everything we can across government to protect jobs at Port Talbot. Having an office in India which can facilitate meetings with the company is an important part of this.”

The remit for the Welsh Government’s operation in India, which has offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, is threefold: to raise Wales’ profile internationally; to grow Wales’ economy by helping businesses in Wales increase exports and attract high quality inward investment; and to establish Wales as a globally responsible nation,

Detailing how Wales’ profile can be raised internationally, the remit lists seven tasks:

* Work directly with Welsh partner organisations and stakeholders to identify opportunities to visit and promote Wales in India.

* Build on current work to promote the higher and further education sector in Wales and secure new partnerships with Indian institutions. India was identified as a target market by Global Wales.

* Work directly with the leading academics and sector experts to visit India and build research and innovation links between the regions.

* Build a strong diaspora network across India and seek to manage a small group of high quality contacts to support the wider remit of the team.

* Use St David’s Day as a platform to promote Wales.

* Work with in-market partners such as the British Council and Chambers of Commerce to realise the aims of the strategy.

* Increase Wales’ profile through a focused communications plan including an increased use of social media.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

How long until the next election?…too long…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

So the Covid inquiry is coming to Cymru for 3 weeks…

Drakeford is coat on and out the door…

The Baroness is off to India !

And Gething is far to busy down at A&E getting Martin Shipton’s knife out of his back…

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

It’s more Labour ” you scratch my back I’ll yours” nepotism. When will we see the end of wet behind the ears political appointees with no experience get jobs on the proviso of promoting Wales to the world ,or in this case, India. 🙄

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago

Labour as a structure of power in Wales and a route for the ambitious? Purpose – self-perpetuation. Nothing new in this for the seasoned observer.

Richard 1
Richard 1
1 month ago

This looks like a big contrast with yesterday’s report “Wales’ role in UK-EU relations greatly diminished since Brexit, MSs warn“! Where are these 21 international offices? Is India more important to Wales than Europe?

A.Redman
A.Redman
1 month ago

Could hardly come under ” I am afraid that you are over qualified for this post”🤔🤬!!!!!

G. Williams
G. Williams
1 month ago

The stench is getting worse! Keep on digging, Martin.

Why vote
Why vote
1 month ago

So this guy failed in his job in 2018 now represents Wales on an international stage, the old adage about promoting failure in government, what hope do we have for the future, who interviewed him ? Q , And what experience do you have in government A, I was in charge of a failed leadership campaign. But lets be fair to the man let him bed in and pass a sniff test. Or is that that how a labour government works ???

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

It looks like the Senedd is losing touch with Democracy and Good Governance fast…

They have looked across the border and decided if you can’t beat them join them, or is this the dire nature of today’s politician, just a way of climbing over other heads in the quest for wealth and power…linked-in to a corrupt gravy train…

Last edited 1 month ago by Mab Meirion
Gaynor
Gaynor
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

That is the Gvt not the Senedd

Steve. Thomas
Steve. Thomas
1 month ago

The more you dig into Labour the more corrupt and self serving they are!They need to go now and to hell with the consequences

Why vote
Why vote
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve. Thomas

If all in the senedd were independent it couldn’t be any worse than it is now. Can’t run a bath let alone a country, Absolutely clueless.

Dewi
Dewi
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve. Thomas

are they vying with Tories for being the most corrupt in Westminster and Cardiff

Cilmeri1282
Cilmeri1282
1 month ago

The more I read about Vaughan Gething and his mates, his mis-judgments, lack of transparency, accepting £100,000 from a crook etc the more concerned I become at this man possibly becoming the next Welsh P.M. There are some serious questions re: his judgement or lack of.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Tamany Hall 🇺🇸 comes to 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Cardiff Bay ?

Mandi A
Mandi A
1 month ago

Anyone got any dirt on Mr Miles? No-one can be that clean in politics.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Mandi A

Just seems a good guy ✔️

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

‘Wales in India’ interesting idea… It is the destination of choice for many evangelical Christians from Cymru. Set up your own charity, a school, clinic, church whatever and make regular pilgrimages, especially in the winter months… I never did much care for poverty tourism and gave the Magic Bus a miss… Now we don’t have to leave these shores to immerse ourselves in a life on or below the breadline thanks to Cameron and Osborne, Truss and Kwarteng, Sunak and Hunt… I’m sure Modi Ji appreciates the thick skins of the missionaries and all the economic opportunities that are bound… Read more »

Stevie B
Stevie B
1 month ago

“Same old Labour, always cheating”

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