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Labour’s general election boss in Wales made false claim about how long he’s been in the party

10 Jun 2024 5 minute read
Stewart Owadally (L) and David Miliband. Photo by Estonian Foreign Ministry is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Martin Shipton

The Labour Party’s general election campaign director in Wales falsely claimed that he wrote offensive tweets about disabled and gay people years long before his involvement in Labour politics, it has emerged.

At the weekend we reported how Stewart Owadally, a close ally of Vaughan Gething whose recent Welsh Labour leadership campaign he managed, had written a series of obnoxious tweets between 2009 and 2014.

One, addressed to Nick Griffin, the former leader of the far-right British National Party when he was a Member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2014, stated: “You can’t spell you spaz” .

The second tweet, in which Mr Owadally responded to another Twitter user, said: “I ANSWERED F***ING QUESTIONS!!! Sorry, you’re a total idiot. Can’t be bothered with you any more. Utter halfwit. Mong.”

In the third, Mr Owadally wrote: “Apparently have turned into a total retard tonight”

The fourth tweet consisted of a response to another Twitter user. Mr Owadally wrote: “I dunno why ‘gay’ stopped being used as a derog, It’s like how ‘spastic’ isn’t allowed any more too.”

Labour politics

Responding to questions from NationCymru about his historic tweets, Mr Owadally said: “These tweets from nearly 15 years ago were made long before my involvement in Labour politics and were initially brought to my attention four years ago. As I said at the time, I absolutely apologise unreservedly for them.”

The tweets were drawn to his attention in 2020 when a complaint was made about them by someone who is said to have suffered mental health problems after being attacked on Twitter by Mr Owadally and others.

Welsh Labour has said “appropriate action” was taken after an investigation, but hasn’t said what that amounted to. He did, however, remain a member of the Labour Party.

When members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru group read about Mr Owadally’s claim that the offensive tweets were written “long before [his] involvement in Labour politics”, they compared his comment with his LinkedIn CV and other social media posts he has made.

His CV states that he worked as a Community Organiser on the David Miliband for Leader campaign from June to October 2010. David Miliband lost the UK Labour leadership election to his brother Ed, who led the party into the 2015 general election, when the Conservatives under David Cameron won an overall Commons majority.


The Covid Bereaved group also turned up a post on X Mr Owadally made in March this year, days after Mr Gething narrowly won the Welsh Labour leadership election. Above a picture of him with Mr Gething, Mr Owadally wrote: “The first person I voted for after joining the Labour Party was @vaughangething, in his selection to be the candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth. 15 or so years later, I’m immensely proud to have been the Director of his leadership campaign with an amazing team of people.”

Referring to Mr Owadally’s false claim that the offensive tweets were made “long before” his involvement in Labour politics, the Covid Bereaved group posted a response that said: “What happened to him 15 years ago? A bang on the head?”

Luke Young, who ran the Welsh Labour leadership campaign of Mr Gething’s defeated rival Jeremy Miles, supported Mr Owadally on X, writing: “Stew has said he’s ashamed of these comments and I believe him. He voluntarily apologised to me and other mates when they resurfaced a few years ago.

“People learn and grow. Stew certainly has. I’ve seen him be an ally in the workplace and walked with him & his family at Pride.

“There’s no excusing the comments. It’s worth remembering gay was used negatively a lot at the time. I know because I was running campaigns and programmes with schools to change that and make education inclusive.

“Would LGBT+ people have Stew’s allyship now? Absolutely.”

Welsh language 

Back in 2013, however, Mr Young took Mr Owadally to task on Twitter over disparaging comments he had made about the Welsh language, Mr Owadally wrote: “Rally 11am Saturday outside City Hall for new Welsh school in Grangetown. Be there! Bleugh.”

Mr Owadally was challenged by a Welsh speaker, who wrote: “Bleugh? Try a more intellectual response that engages the mind. Bilingual minds are more active, I realise.”

Mr Owadally responded: “Having been turned down for jobs purely because I don;t speak a language I wouldn’t use, I’ll stick to my guns.”

Mr Young intervened to post: “Stop treating the Welsh language as if it’s an enemy”, to which Mr Owadally responded: “I work with people who don’t even call 101 to report crimes because of how confusing it is [implying that people were put off because they disliked having the Welsh language offered a communication option].”

We wrote to Mr Owadally inviting him to explain the discrepancy between his statement that the offensive tweets were written long before his involvement in Labour politics, and the evidence of his CV and the recent post to X, but he did not respond.

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Richard Davies
Richard Davies
15 hours ago

More deceitful lies from people of the labour party. They really are getting as bad as the tories!

As George Galloway said, the two parties are two cheeks of one backside and between the two we see an outpouring of sh*t!

Vote Plaid Cymru.

14 hours ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Aren’t Plaid Cymru committed to the same policy of gender self ID that the SNP were? They are spreading misinformation about the Cass Review too.

14 hours ago

So Stewart Owadally used abusive terms about people with learning disabilities, and gay people – and complained about the fact that was not acceptable now! – but hey – then he turned up with his family and walked at Pride. Once he took on senior Labour party roles. Not beforehand. Just when he took on a Labour party role. I guess everything’s okay now, then. Proof if we needed it that a beaming appearance at Pride is the politicians’ way of wiping away all evidence of other prejudiced and bigoted behaviour.

4 hours ago
Reply to  Daf

Also shows an extraordinary attitude towards disabled people and the slurs that Owadally used. Apologising to a gay man and then going on a Pride march has nothing to do with the hate speech aimed at disabled people. Who are the largest group in Wales subject to hate crime. Luke Young needs to give his head a wobble.

13 hours ago

A general pattern of prejudice, chauvinism and an over-inflated ego there. Don’t tell me those terms weren’t offensive at the time. They were considered distasteful and unkind even in the 80’s. That behaviour has all the hallmarks of a bully and it saddens me that Welsh Labour are happy to accomodate yet another anti-Cymraeg bigot. That kind of bigotry meant that both my parents were raised as English speaking monoglots. I also experienced that kind of bigotry as a young child attending an Ysgol Cymraeg. As a teenager I was assaulted for it. Labour should distance themselves from bigots not… Read more »

13 hours ago

Aha – Luke Young – the JK Rowling hating, David Paisley re-tweeting supporter of gender self ID is the former Welsh Labour’s Head of Communication! This explains so much. I wonder if he will hide his Twitter account now, like Stewart Owadally. Always the sign of someone on the right side of history.

12 hours ago

This is all a bit “niche”, isn’t it?

Harris R
Harris R
1 hour ago

I’m beginning to think that Vaughan Gething’s “meritocratic” rise and exemplary career was in fact very much an approved joint enterprise, with this guy and others along for the ride and the political rewards. With appropriate opinions. So all this is not JUST about VG (although centre stage) but the faction around him, those currently at the forefront of his defence.

11 minutes ago
Reply to  Harris R

I agree. David Costa and Owadally signed off the huge dodgy donation. They should have done due diligence, and advised Gething responsibly. Literally their job. We still don’t know if they knew the donor was a convicted criminal (environmental crimes), and just didn’t care. Or if they just didn’t do standard checks in the first place. Were they shady or shoddy? We do know that the Labour party refused to take the remains of the donation. But Costa and Owadally have been promoted within the party, and are now running the general election campaign in Wales. Something here stinks worse… Read more »

Daniel Pitt
Daniel Pitt
1 hour ago

Keir Starmer seems keen on erasing the supposedly “toxic” legacy of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn…. by actively promoting intolerant bullies. He even made raging antisemite Luke Akehurst a candidate in the upcoming election! I for one won’t be voting Labour for the first time in my adult life.

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