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How an attempted smear of Welsh Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Miles came unstuck

21 May 2024 6 minute read
Jeremy Miles MS

An attempted smear of Welsh Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Miles unravelled after it became clear that he had returned a donation from a convicted criminal.

One of Vaughan Gething’s strongest supporters has raised concerns about a £2,000 donation made to the campaign of his defeated rival Jeremy Miles – even though Mr Miles paid back the £2,000 when he discovered that the donor had a criminal conviction dating back to 2009.

Mr Gething has come under immense criticism for accepting donations totalling £200k from Cardiff-based Dauson Environmental Group, a firm owned by businessman David Neal. Mr Neal was convicted of dumping toxic sludge in the Gwent Levels wetland conservation area in 2013 and given a suspended prison. He was prosecuted again four years later for not cleaning it up, receiving another suspended sentence.

Former Labour councillor

Now Ashley Govier, a businessman and former Labour councillor in Cardiff who is a close friend of Mr Gething’s, has revealed on X, formerly Twitter, that Mr Miles initially accepted £2,000 from James Hadley, who owns south Wales’ leading tanning chain Lextan and recently took over as chairman and leading sponsor of Neath RFC in Mr Miles’ constituency.

Mr Govier posted a message referring to Mr Neal to former Cardiff Labour council leader Russell Goodway that said: “So in Wales once a criminal always a criminal, even after they have served the penalty. It was his company also not him but as CEO he takes the hit. Why is it that Jeremy Miles who also took a donation from someone with a conviction doesn’t get this level of vitriol?”

Former Labour Cabinet Minister Leighton Andrews responded: “Who did JM take donation from?”

Mr Govier posted: “Owner of sunbed shops – convicted in 2009. Easy to find but all people are interested in is attacking VG.”

Mr Andrews pointed out: “Not listed in donations to JM’s leadership campaign here”, with a link to Mr Miles’ list of donors.

Mr Govier said: “It’s on the register but then on most recent says ceased. I expect although don’t know for sure, when it all kicked off about VG he quickly returned it. Even so, it was accepted. Still a number of issue [sic] with other donors like housing developments etc but nobody cares to look.”

‘Environmental technicality’

In a further post, Mr Govier said: “I also look forward to the day Mr Neal tells his side of the story. We are acting like he is a mass murderer. It was an environmental technicality his large company was in breach of and as CEO he is responsible. Even so, Labour for years have taken money from him & others.”

A BBC report of the 2013 case at Cardiff Magistrates Court said: “Neal ran two companies – Atlantic Recycling and Neal Soil Suppliers – on the Gwent Levels in the Wentloog area of Cardiff. The area falls within an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for its fauna and flora and was monitored by the Countryside Council for Wales. The prosecution followed a year-long investigation by Natural Resources Wales, its predecessor the Environment Agency and South Wales Police.

“District Judge Martin Brown … heard that toxic liquids had leached into a reen, or adjacent water course. Neal pleaded guilty personally to breaches of environmental rules and also pleaded guilty on behalf of his two companies to depositing waste likely to cause pollution to the environment or harm to human health.

“The companies were fined £50,000 each and £51,000 each in costs.

“Judge Brown said of Atlantic Recycling’s case: ‘There was clearly the potential for serious pollution, but thankfully there were no long lasting adverse effects.’ However in the case of Neal Soil Suppliers – where dairy and food effluent was spread over a field – there had been “substantial and serious pollution”.

Tanning group

Mr Govier told NationCymru the owner of the tanning group who donated £2,000 to Mr Miles’ leadership campaign was James Hadley. He drew our attention to a court report from 2009 which stated: “The owner of a tanning salon where a schoolgirl was badly burned on a sunbed has been told to pay £6,000 costs.

James Hadley, from Resolven near Neath, had previously admitted five health and safety breaches at the Lextan Salon in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.

The charges did not relate to the injured girl but the incident had prompted an inspection of the premises.

Hadley, 25, was also given a community order for 90 hours of unpaid work by Barry magistrates.

District Judge John Charles said he accepted that nobody had been harmed as a direct result of the offences but there had been a degree of recklessness in operating an unmanned salon.”

Speaking after the hearing, Vale of Glamorgan council environmental health officer Marc Adams-Jones admitted there was “no specific law” that stated that unmanned tanning salons could not operate. But he added: “However, you have the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which specifically says you owe a duty of care to staff and to others.

“There are several unmanned tanning salons operating in Wales and probably 300 operating in the rest of the country.

“The concerns for the potential for harm are already publicised ones where people have burned. There are three within south Wales itself.

“If somebody is able to go into an unmanned premises with no controls, there’s an imminent risk for health.”

Subsequently the then National Assembly passed a law banning unmanned salons.


Mr Govier told us one of Jeremy Miles’ other donors was a developer called Hygrove Homes which was criticised by residents for building an estate in Swansea that five years after people moved in hadn’t been completed, with raised kerbs, uneven roads and raised drain covers creating a constant headache, with incidents of cars being damaged and punctured tyres.

The former councillor, who owns the freehold of the iconic Coal Exchange in Cardiff Bay, said: “There was a file of stuff about Jeremy’s donations, but Vaughan wouldn’t let his team use it.”

A Welsh Labour source said: “The inner workings of Vaughan Gething’s controversial leadership campaign are starting to come to light through the tweets of Ashley Govier. It’s not completely clear what Ashley’s role was, but he was obviously at the heart of things. Being aware of potential smears on Jeremy Miles and the relationship between Vaughan and donors. He even seems to suggest he was involved in securing donations.

“Govier has even inadvertently told us that Jeremy Miles’ due diligence process led him to return cash to a donor who was found to be unsuitable.

“On the day UK Labour refused to accept the money not spent by Vaughan Gething’s campaign, many questions remain unanswered. Who negotiated the donations and what did they promise? Why was Wales’ largest ever political donation given to the then Economy Minister on the day the donor submitted a planning application to the Welsh Government?

“What was the due diligence process used by the campaign? This story has been running for months now and the failure to answer questions has angered voters across Wales. Perhaps Ashley can assist in answering these basic questions.”

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Amazed of Rhyl
Amazed of Rhyl
23 days ago

An ideal plot for a new S4C crime series Drama…. ?

Perhaps their media chum RhodriW could move this forward ?

23 days ago

Arent the Taffia a rotten bunch?

Adrian Bamford
Adrian Bamford
23 days ago

This is all trivial stuff really. Please remember that every one of the Labour clown cabal believes that humans can change sex. On that basis alone they shouldn’t be in charge of anything.

June Davies
June Davies
23 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Bamford

Well done on inserting paranoid drivel into an unrelated story 🙄

23 days ago

The Cllr who owns the Coal Exchange How come? And it’s criminal what has happened to that iconic building, which all happened under a Labour led authority determined to ruin the built envirinment of Cardiff.

23 days ago

Thanks to Mr Govier, or is he also a Mr Giver ?, we know that Most of the Labour leadership crew have swept stuff under their carpets. At this point it looks like VG has the biggest pile under his carpet but it would be interesting to check out the other Labour A.S ‘s recent sweepings to find out how dirty they all are. Or was Mr Govier just trying to whip up a bit of a smokescreen ? Maybe he’s doing us a favour, accidentally of course.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
21 days ago

This is why the Labour and Conservatives will never be the solution for Wales.

They have both brought problems to the people of Wales through their policies imposed on Wales from Westminster. Most of which are now being seen as incompatible with the interests of the Welsh public.

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