Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Labour figures who approved Gething’s ‘dodgy donations’ now running election campaign

25 May 2024 5 minute read
Vaughan Gething – Crown Copyright

Martin Shipton

The two men who organised Vaughan Gething’s tainted but successful leadership bid have been put in charge of Welsh Labour’s general election campaign.

Stewart Owadally, who was Mr Gething’s campaign manager has been appointed campaign manager for the party, while David Costa, a Labour Party administrative veteran until his retirement as deputy general secretary in 2022, will be responsible for Welsh Labour governance issues during the general election campaign.

Eyebrows have been raised within Welsh Labour about Mr Costa’s appointment especially, given that as Mr Gething’s agent he was responsible for signing off the donations totalling £200,000 given to Mr Gething’s campaign by convicted criminal David Neal, who received two suspended prison sentences after illegally dumping toxic sludge in the Gwent Levels, a protected wetland landscape near Cardiff.

Serious governance issues

A Labour insider said: “There were clearly serious governance issues with the Vaughan Gething campaign, and UK Labour have quite rightly refused to take the tainted cash. It’s reasonable for members to question whether the person in charge of governance for Vaughan’s campaign is the right person to do the job for Welsh Labour in the general election.

“We have to put winning first and if that means keeping Vaughan’s team away from things, then so be it. Nobody’s ego is more important than electing a Labour government.”

Another Labour source said: “Running the general election in Wales is the responsibility of Welsh Labour, and the acting general secretary Joe Lock has made these appointments. But there is a belief that the real decision maker was Vaughan Gething.”

Nation.Cymru has previously reported how Mr Gething wanted Mr Owadally to be the new general secretary for Welsh Labour, but the plan was vetoed by UK Labour. As a result acting general secretary Joe Lockis in charge – a man who once had to apologise for a string of social media posts in which he described former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg as a “f****** c*** and who created a link to a website called “Is Thatcher dead yet?”, adding the comment: “Can’t be long, fingers crossed.”

Embarrassed

A second Labour source said: “It’s absolutely the case that UK Labour is now embarrassed by Vaughan because of the donations scandal. This was made absolutely clear in the contrast between the launch of Welsh Labour’s general election campaign and the equivalent Scottish Labour launch.

“It was extraordinary that journalists attending the Welsh launch were told that Vaughan was unavailable for interview, and that it was such a small scale event with only around 30 candidates and party members present as [the UK party’s deputy leader] Angela Rayner launched the campaign.

“Meanwhile in Glasgow Keir Starmer stood alongside Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar amid hundreds of party activists as Sir Keir said Scotland was ‘central to Labour’s mission for government’.”

“At the launch of Welsh Labour’s last general election campaign in 2019, the then First Minister Mark Drakeford was front and centre of the event, saying: “We will hold the Tories to account for the choices they have made – choices which are leaving working families worse off and starving public services of funds.”

He said there was a “clear choice between a Welsh Labour Party who will stand up for you and your family – and a Tory party which is failing working people”, adding: “Wales is the only country in the UK with a Labour government and we have secured real change for people – for those who need it most. But we could do so much more with a UK Labour government.

“If you want to put the chaos of the Tories and a decade of austerity behind us, vote for Labour.”

Blessing and a curse

Speculating on Mr Gething’s fate, our second Labour source said: “The calling of the general election is both a blessing and a curse for him. In the immediate future, it’s headed off the possibility of a motion of no confidence in him at the Senedd, moved by the opposition parties.

“All it would have needed was one disenchanted Labour MS to abstain for a motion of no confidence to pass. However, while there is much unhappiness in the Labour Senedd group, there is no way any Labour MS is going to abstain, let alone vote against Vaughan in a vote of confidence while the election is pending, with the risk that could potentially derail the campaign.

“On the other hand, once the general election is out of the way in six weeks time, any potential negative consequences of dethroning him will no longer apply. The reality is, of course, that while the Tories will undoubtedly include attacks on Vaughan as a main theme of their campaign, most people will be thinking about which party they want in power at Westminster.

“But after the general election, people will be looking ahead to the Senedd election in two years’ time. If Vaughan were still First Minister at that time, what’s likely to be a difficult election anyway would be all the more problematic. He will always be tainted with scandal and that is not an election winner. His days in office are numbered.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 days ago

It would be interesting to know how much dodgy cash is flowing in over the border into Welsh Tory coffers…

Also how much N.C are (unwittingly) helping the Tory cause…

Last edited 9 days ago by Mab Meirion
Llyn
Llyn
9 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Frank Hester gave the Tories 10 million which they’re using now in the GE. But nobody appears to care about a violent, misogynist racist with huge contracts with the UK gov greasing the wheels of Welsh politicians.

A.Redman
A.Redman
8 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

The article is about Labour and VG.NOT ,much as you may wish,to do with thr Tories .

Frank
Frank
9 days ago

Jobs for the boys.

Why vote
Why vote
9 days ago

His mate advises him his mates organise him does he do anything except not answer questions or say something obscure as an answer?

Arthur
Arthur
9 days ago

I voted for a Welsh assembly.
The welsh assembly building in Cardiff bay was designed to be open and accessible to the people of Wales to see a transparent government working for the people of Wales.
Now it is turning into a dictatorship. We are being told what is good for us by a bunch of environmental fanatics who will destroy our economy, while our English neighbours reap the benefits of Wales stagnation.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
5 days ago
Reply to  Arthur

The Senedd is the best change that has happened in Wales.

Wales is stagnating because of domination of the UK based Labour and Conservative parties.
Any one of them (Lab or Con) will never be the party for Wales and neither provide any improvement in the living standards of the people of Wales.

We have a Party of Wales – PLAID CYMRU
Plaid Cymru as a majority party will bring democracy to Cymru Wales and we, the people, will then have a future and free from Lab/Con domination.

That is why we should vote PLAID CYMRU.

Last edited 5 days ago by Ernie The Smallholder
Linda Jones
Linda Jones
8 days ago

Nepotism rules Labour in Wales,

Anon
Anon
5 days ago

Perhaps UK Labour are embarrassed by Welsh Labour’s stance on “Trans women are Women”. UK Labour has realised that it’s a vote looser as women have left the party in droves and are back tracking on this absurd notion. Welsh Labour thinks it doesn’t have to worry as it’s monopolized our politics for ever and been in power since devolution. Let’s hope we bite it back.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.