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Gething backer smears Jeremy Miles and Nation.Cymru with racism allegations

12 Mar 2024 8 minute read
Vaughan Gething . Photo James Manning/PA Wire

Martin Shipton

A leading member of Vaughan Gething’s leadership campaign has endorsed baseless allegations that Nation.Cymru is running a racist campaign against Mr Gething, orchestrated by the rival team backing Jeremy Miles.

On at least 10 occasions, baseless, vile and defamatory social media posts made by a conspiracy theorist, who hides behind a pseudonym, have been liked by Cath Sherrington, a former unsuccessful candidate for the then National Assembly who is married to Mr Gething’s agent David Costa, the former deputy general secretary of Welsh Labour.

The smear coincides with the revelation that Mr Gething has lobbied a government agency on behalf of the business interests of the convicted criminal whose company donated £200k to his leadership campaign.

Trolling

Bridgend Labour MS Sarah Murphy, a supporter of Mr Miles, was not impressed by the smear.

She posted a message on X to Ms Sherrington that said: “I don’t know what you’re trying to achieve with this trolling. We all have to come back together as a movement after this AND win back Bridgend at the GE [general election].

“We were door knocking together just last week … We’re better than this, right?”

A Welsh Labour insider pointed out to us that Ms Sherrington’s likes appeared to be in breach of Labour’s social media policy, which states: “It is perfectly possible to have vehement disagreements without descending into personal abuse, shaming people or exhibiting bullying behaviour.

“Forcefully made points and criticisms of the political views of others are totally legitimate, personal attacks are not. Debates amongst party members should be comradely, acknowledging that whatever our diverse views, we are one party with shared goals. Derogatory descriptions of the positions of others, as well as derogatory language, should be avoided.”

One of the smears posted on X

We invited Mr Gething’s campaign to comment, but they did not respond, however the thread of allegations on X has subsequently been deleted.

Nation.Cymru was the first news outlet to report that Mr Miles had been deprived unfairly of Unite the Union’s leadership nomination. We were also the first to report the donations totalling £200k made to Mr Gething by a company whose main director was convicted of dumping toxic sludge in the sensitive Gwent Levels wetland landscape.

Disdain

In addition we have called out Mr Gething’s persistent disdain for scrutiny and his failings as a Minister, especially during the Covid pandemic.

Meanwhile BBC Wales reported how Mr Gething lobbied regulators in favour of a company that has been prosecuted for waste crimes and whose owner recently gave him £200k for his leadership campaign.

Mr Gething asked Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to ease restrictions on Atlantic Recycling in 2016.

Its holding company, Dauson Environmental Group, made the £200k donation to Mr Gething.

NRW has now revealed that, in 2016, Mr Gething wrote to the regulator asking it to reconsider a notice ordering work to be suspended on the site, accusing it of having a “closed mind”.

He raised concerns about public money being spent on disputes with the company. He followed his letter up with a meeting, an email and another letter.

In 2018, in a further letter, he told NRW officials they were unjustified in delaying a decision regarding a permit.

Later that year, companies linked to David Neal donated £38k to Mr Gething’s previous, unsuccessful, leadership campaign, in addition to the more recent donations of £200k from Mr Neal’s Dauson Environmental Group.

Mr Gething’s Cardiff South and Penarth constituency is home to Atlantic Recycling’s Cardiff base. He was a Welsh Government minister through the whole period. NRW is funded by the Welsh Government.

Suspension notice

Documents released to BBC Wales by NRW show that Mr Gething’s letter of March 2016 concerned a suspension notice imposed on Atlantic Recycling, which he claimed prevented the company from trading.

Public records show that such a notice was imposed in late 2015. The notice warned of the potential for waste spontaneously combusting, and ordered waste older than six months to be removed.

Much of the waste on the site in Rumney had been stored “in excess of three years and in some areas up to five years”, the notice said.

Mr Gething wrote to a senior official at NRW, saying he was contacting them in his capacity as a constituency Assembly Member.

“Having read a series of meetings minutes I am concerned at the apparent unwillingness to engage with the company after the [suspension] notice was issued,” Mr Gething wrote.

“It appears that broadly NRW has a closed mind when it comes to achieving the requirements of the notice to improve the site, reduce a range of risks and remove older material.

“It appears that the only approach being taken by your colleagues is to insist that no trading takes place, no discussion about an alternative plan to achieve the notice requirements and the only way to change this is through legal action.”

He said it was “troubling” that “significant amounts of private and public finance” had been spent in a series of disputes, and said the company’s future will impact on the “jobs of a number of my constituents”.

Pressing for an alternative, he warned NRW that if the company ceased to function then enforcement action against the landowner “is unlikely to be quick or cheap”.

“I am keen to avoid further expensive conflict involving competing sets of lawyers,” he added.

The letter makes clear he had also had a conversation with the official involved.

Meeting

In April, Mr Gething wrote an email to NRW officials referring to a meeting he had with the organisation on March 15.

Discussing a “contract offer” to remove older materials from Atlantic’s site, Mr Gething wrote: “The NRW response to date is disappointing. The tone does not suggest that there has been any change in the nature of the conversation and approach from NRW.”

In a further letter in May 2016, Mr Gething requested to be told the outcome of a meeting between NRW and Atlantic recycling, scheduled for a few days after the letter was written.

Documents on NRW’s website show that, in June 2016 and following discussions with the company, the suspension notice was withdrawn, and a new order was imposed which concerned one field of the site, rather than all of it.

NRW told BBC Wales that no suspension notice currently applies at Atlantic Recycling, which it says has had a “long regulatory history”.

Two years later, in May 2018, Mr Gething wrote again about the company, regarding a delay to a variation of a permit the company held, so it could include a water treatment and biomass boiler.

The application had been submitted on 25 April 2017.

Mr Gething wrote: “I can understand a delay until the court case was concluded. However I am not sure how further delay can be justified. I do however appreciate that your own resources are pressured after eight years of financial austerity.”

A spokesperson for Mr Gething told BBC Wales: “It is routine practice for Members of Senedd, including government ministers, to correspond with a range of public bodies regarding constituency issues. This is an important function of elected representatives, especially when jobs are at risk.

“In his role as a constituency MS, Vaughan engaged with both Atlantic Recycling and NRW. The business and NRW agreed a way forward to both correct environmental regulatory compliance issues identified by NRW and protect over 60 jobs in the constituency.

David Neal, the main director of Dauson Environmental Group and its subsidiary companies, who had two suspended prison sentences imposed on him for dumping toxic sludge in the Gwent Levels, said: “As a Welsh company, the Dauson Environmental Group has a wide number of operations and assets and is committed to investing in the future of Wales.

“We want to see the economy, communities, and environment continue to prosper in Wales, and we have supported Vaughan Gething’s campaign as we feel he is the best person for the job.”

Senedd Standards Commisioner 

Last week Nation.Cymru reported how Senedd Standards Commissioner Douglas Bain had rejected a complaint made by information rights activist Jamie Roberts about Mr Gething’s acceptance of the donations totalling £200k from Mr Neal’s company.

Mr Roberts has now written to Mr Bain stating: “I wish to draw your attention to new revelations regarding Mr Vaughan Gething MS, as reported today by the BBC. These revelations shed light on Mr Gething’s involvement in lobbying activities on behalf of a company previously prosecuted for waste crimes, which later made significant donations to his campaign.

This new information presents a tangible connection between Mr Gething’s actions and subsequent financial support from an entity he assisted, which could potentially constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct under the concerns you previously stated were necessary for an investigation to proceed.

“Given your earlier position that my complaint lacked sufficient evidence, I believe this new development provides the necessary basis to revisit the matter. It highlights a potential conflict of interest and raises serious questions about the integrity of Mr Gething’s actions in relation to his public duties and private interests.

“Therefore, I respectfully request that you consider this new information and reassess the admissibility and potential investigation into Mr Gething’s conduct.”


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FrankC
FrankC
29 days ago

Gething is a disgrace. This attempt by the UK Labour Party and trade union barons to hijack the Welsh Government can’t be allowed to succeed.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
28 days ago

Nation.Cymru has carried out excellent journalism to highlight major concerns with respect to Vaughan Gething, his bid to become Prif Weinidog Cymru and his donations received from the company run by a convicted criminal.

We deserve to know the calibre and morals of the people that could well end up as Prif Weinidog, so we are able to make informed decisions at future elections.

If Mr Gething thinks he is under too much scrutiny then maybe he should step away from politics, I haven’t seen anything to justify allegations of racism made against either Jeremy Miles or Nation.Cymru!

Richard E
Richard E
28 days ago
  1. Who Labour in Wales pick is their job only.

2.Who the First Minister is of great importance to all our nation – not just the “ Cardiff Bay Luvies “.

Wales needs a uniting fighter of what ever gender or orientation or cultural background who understands ALL of nation and has demonstrated an understanding and support for our cultural needs….and who can reach out to others.

Frank
Frank
28 days ago

The more I hear about Gething and his team the more I dislike him. Daily revelations about his activities are mounting up. He is not the person who I want to see leading Wales over the next years.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
28 days ago

Yet more revelations on the corruption that surrounds Gething and his cohorts. He is totally unsuitable as an AM let alone First Minister in my opinion.

Gary H
Gary H
28 days ago

If Gethin is the winner, he will need to be voted into office by the Senedd. Let us just hope that there will be a couple of principled Labour MS’s who don’t like these disgraceful goings on will abstain or vote with the opposition to keep him out. A political crisis is better than an unworthy winner!

Neilyn
Neilyn
28 days ago

As predicted, though I had to edit my suggestion that this line of defence would emerge twice before Nation.Cymru would clear it!

Erisian
Erisian
28 days ago

Maybe it’s because he’s a “Londener”….. It’s certainly not because he’s black.

Frank
Frank
28 days ago

Members of the Senedd who decide to vote for Gething will be just as corrupt as him. Is this what we have to look forward to? This should be a public vote.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
28 days ago

If in doubt use racism to take focus away from your alleged dodgy dealings by smearing those reporting. Sorry Vaughan, as candidate for First Minister of Wales are being judged not because of the colour of your skin but on your character. Personally speaking, think Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles are not fit to lead Wales. We need a fresh start. A new direction. Not a Welsh Labour rehash of old stale ideas wrapped up in sound bites, can’t do, defeatist attitude, because we don’t have the power or levers to make real change here in Wales. Well that’s all… Read more »

Martyn Young
Martyn Young
28 days ago

It demeans the real structural and societal problems with racism to be shouting it concerning Gething’s dodgy practices.

Glwyo
Glwyo
21 days ago

Imagine your party leader being so indefensible that the only argument you can find to support him is “er, his skin is kinda dark though”. I’ve literally started to see people doing this. Labour has become a parody of a leftist movement.

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