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Gething urged to return controversial £200k campaign donation

17 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Labour supporters applaud Vaughan Gething following his election as leader of Welsh Labour. Photo Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Plaid Cymru has urged Vaughan Gething to return a controversial £200k donation or give it to environmental charity.

Mr Gething, who was confirmed as the new leader of Welsh Labour on Saturday, has been strongly criticised since it was revealed by Nation.Cymru that he had received a campaign donation of £200,000 from David John Neal.

The businessman had previously been convicted twice of environmental offences as head of two companies, Atlantic Recycling and Neal Soil Suppliers, for illegally dumping toxic sludge in the Gwent Levels, a sensitive wetlands landscape near Newport.

Atlantic Recycling was also fined £300,000 in February following the death of one of its workers, after it pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety at work rules.

Perception

Speaking on the BBC Politics Wales programme, Plaid Cymru leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:  “I’ve made it very clear that it doesn’t feel right, does it? There’s a perception issue around this money.

“Vaughan Gething and the outgoing First Minister say they have considered very carefully, and no rules were broken here but it’s more than just the rules. It doesn’t feel right, and one way to clear that up would be to pay the money back. Pay it to an environmental charity, why not?”

He added:”I will absolutely hold Vaughan Gething firmly to account for his judgement and for his political actions because he inherits a whole host of problems from a government that he himself has been a key part of over so many years.

“My relationship will be to hold him to account on the one hand firmly and on the other hand to offer that alternative vision because I know that this isn’t as good as things can get for Wales.

“When I talk about building a fairer and more ambitious future for Wales, I will do that every day in holding the government to account with a new First Minister, and in the work that I do with Plaid Cymru the length and breadth of Wales talking to people about how things could be pretty different if we had a different kind of government.”

Lessons

Speaking after his election success was confirmed in Cardiff on Saturday, Mr Gething said, “everyone has lessons to learn”, after being quizzed about what is believed to be largest political donations ever made in Wales.

He said that he did not recognise suggestions that there was widespread anger within the Welsh Labour party over the matter.

Asked if he would return the donation, he said: “No. We’ve done nothing outside of the rules. There’s nothing wrong with what we’ve done.”


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Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
30 days ago

Hold the government to account?
Fine words – any chance of action?

A.Redman
A.Redman
30 days ago

Is that “The Royal we” or was it a donation to the Welsh Government or to VG himself?

Huw
Huw
30 days ago

Vaughan Gething’s so-called ‘victory’ in this contest makes the co-operation pact with Plaid Cymru untenable. It would be madness for Plaid Cymru to continue to be tainted by such a disreputable and corrupt electoral process. Unless Vaughan Gething returns the dirty money or donates it to an environmental charity, the opposition parties should get their act together and submit Rhun ap Iorwerth’s name as First Minister this week. The result could be uncomfortably close – as happened before in 2016.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
30 days ago
Reply to  Huw

Absolutely! Well said – over to you Rhun…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
30 days ago

John Harris has a piece in the Guardian that I find quite alarming, the separation of government and council from the people…We must keep our wits about us in Cymru, closed lists suggest we are not…

Rob jones
Rob jones
30 days ago

So the new dictator again ignores the electorate about his bribe from a convicted felon

A.Redman
A.Redman
30 days ago

Vaughan Gething makes much of being the First Black Man to be First Minister.Is he in fact bi- racial? In which case does Megan Markle describe herself as black?

David
David
30 days ago
Reply to  A.Redman

Vaughan Gething is the First Black Man to be First Minister who believes that accepting £200,000 donation from a convicted criminal is OK.

CapM
CapM
30 days ago

Politics Wales yesterday was worth watching, still available on BBC iPlayer, 15mins to 23mins especially.
RT not his usual blustering bullish self. After saying Gething should not accept the £200 000 but Hesters £10million donation to the Tories should be held on to even his paucity of self awareness couldn’t square that position. He then sat as quiet as a lamb for most of the session letting Rhun have free rein.

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