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Message system misused to favour Vaughan Gething in leadership contest

25 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Vaughan Gething . Photo James Manning/PA Wire

Evidence has emerged that a Labour Party communications system that was meant to be neutral was misused in order to promote the leadership candidacy of Vaughan Gething.

Local parties are able to use a communications tool called Organise to contact their members.

But it was made clear to those controlling the messages at a local level that they were not to use it to support Mr Gething or his rival Jeremy Miles during the Welsh Labour leadership election campaign.

Nation.Cymru has been sent a message distributed to all users across Welsh Labour’s Organise network on March 12, just two days before the deadline to vote. With the content heading “Inappropriate use of Labour Party Systems”, the message stated: “We would like to remind all Organise users that the use of Labour Party systems to promote a leadership candidate or send emails on behalf of campaign teams is strictly prohibited. Any use of this nature will be seen as a serious breach of your use of Organise and will result in your account being suspended and possibly further action. Thanks, Welsh Labour.”

Nation.Cymru has also been sent a message distributed via Organise to members of the Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare Constituency Labour Party (the news seat’s actual title is Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon) on January 7.

It read: “Dear [named member], Vaughan Gething will be meeting Labour members in Merthyr as part of his leadership campaign, focusing on his policy pledges and vision for his leadership.
“It will be at 6.30pm on Saturday, January 13th and will be finished by 8.00pm. It will be held at: Redhouse Cymru, Old Town Hall, High St, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8AE
“Please email [email protected] to confirm your attendance. Kind regards, Matthew Rees, Secretary for Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare CLP.”

‘Unfair advantage’

A grassroots Welsh Labour member who did not wish to be identified said: “Here appears to be another example of the way in which the odds were stacked against Jeremy Miles. The party establishment seems to have been determined to give Vaughan Gething an unfair advantage. It was certainly no level playing field.

“It will be interesting to see what action, if any, has been or will be taken against those involved.”

We wrote to Welsh Labour seeking answers to a number of questions, stating: “A serious matter has been raised in connection with the misuse of a Labour Party communications system called Organise during the recent Welsh Labour leadership election.

“Here is an example of how it was used by Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare CLP (sic) to promote the candidacy of Vaughan Gething. [We included the message sent out on Organise promoting Vaughan Gething’s meeting].

“Below is an email that was sent in the dying days of the campaign to All Organise Users. [we quoted from the message distributed to Organise Users on March 12].

“Are we right to assume that it was made clear to Organise Users at the outset that they were not to use the channel to promote the interests of one or other of the candidates?

“The fact that a message was sent out days before the end of the campaign suggests that it had become apparent that some had defied the instruction. Do you know how extensive this may have been?

“Has any action been taken or is being contemplated against Matthew Rees or anyone else in this context?”

We have received no response from Welsh Labour.

Privileged access

During the leadership campaign – and separate to the scandal relating to the £200k donation given to Mr Gething by a convicted criminal – there was concern over the fact that Mr Gething had privileged access to union affiliated voters belonging to the so-called “Big Six” unions whose political committees decided to nominate him. In one instance, when it appeared that Mr Miles was going to win the Unite nomination, the union’s “Regional Secretary” Peter Hughes intervened, misquoting a union rule, to ensure the nomination went to Mr Gething.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Scotland Yard’s cybercrime unit is investigating voter fraud allegations involving the use of election software called Anonyvoter by Labour Party officials. The investigation focuses on Croydon East Constituency Labour Party in London.

Anonyvoter, which allows Labour Party officials to alter party member contact details for example, was also used in last year’s selection contest between two sitting MPs for the right to represent the new seat of Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon. Left winger Beth Winter lost narrowly to Gerald Jones.


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Nick Powell
Nick Powell
15 days ago

The new constituency is Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare. The boundary commission changed its mind after previously suggesting Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon, which was still the proposed name when Labour held its candidate selection although neither the boundaries nor the names of the new constituencies had been confirmed at that point.

A.Redman
A.Redman
15 days ago

What a tangled web. Serious questions need to be answered if democracy and transparency are to be the key to the office of ANY First Minister( in any part of thr UK).How is the public expected to have any faith in our politicians unless this is the case?

Ian Gwynne
Ian Gwynne
15 days ago

With a candidate calling for an investigation into her failed selection attempt added to this it seems like there are questions about how secure from scrutiny Merthyr & Aberdare CLP feel, protected by their historical majorities.

Merthyr deserves better than these safe seats selections.

Last edited 15 days ago by Ian Gwynne
Stevie B
Stevie B
15 days ago

Same old Labour, always cheating.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
15 days ago
Reply to  Stevie B

Stitch ups, stitch ups, stitch ups.

Last edited 15 days ago by Swn Y Mor
Erisian
Erisian
15 days ago
Reply to  Stevie B

What, unlike the Conservative and Unionist Party, the paragons of virtue?
I blame London for failures of both.

Why vote
Why vote
15 days ago

One rule for them another for us springs to mind.

Rhian Hewitt-Davies
Rhian Hewitt-Davies
15 days ago

Hi, What I can’t understand is why we have a First-Minister who can’t speak Cymraeg? This is one of the best cultures in the world, because of how it was disseminated through the language. What next? I dread to think. I don’t think the Cymry have any idea of what’s ahead of them aka the batty Labour-party, who only care about promoting those who are black, gay or working class women. Anyone else is invisible to the Labour-party. Unless the Cymry (Cymraeg or English-speaking) take control and demand that the First-Minister knows the history of the Cymry, and understands how… Read more »

Richard
Richard
15 days ago

It’s not whether he speaks Welsh at all – it’s whether he is committed to all his nation and their cultures ! Is there a track record of support or family educational involvement to the language or indeed participation in cultural events etc etc ?

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
15 days ago
Reply to  Richard

His speech when he took over should have rung alarm bells. He stated that he would, ‘stand for a leadership grounded not in bitterness, resentment or the fruitless search for a past that never was, but a leadership based on hope’. What did he mean by ‘the fruitless search for a past that never was’?

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
14 days ago
Reply to  Swn Y Mor

He’s a threat to our nation.

jjack
jjack
14 days ago
Reply to  Swn Y Mor

NEVER WAS– probably referring to some of our history invented by academics at Aber uni in the 1800s. They knew they needed a figure head to boost their claims so invented/ greatly embellished the deeds of Owain Glyndwr. Tried to say he was rebelling against the king (a welsh tudor) for the glory of Wales not bcause the king did not support him in a land dispute with a neighbour.. Not mentioning when the castle he was in was under seige he escaped at night abandoning his wife and children.

Wiwergoch
Wiwergoch
15 days ago

I wonder, did he send his children to a Welsh school?

Richard
Richard
15 days ago

I think its best left now sadly . How they “ run “ their elections has a long track record and Wales – which younger Nation Cymru readers may not be aware of. Valleys Labour and the likes of the late Lord Haycock and his family through to Jack Brooks in Cardiff etc had their way of getting the “ right “ result . The currant saga just shows how little has changed . Wales gets the Leaders we deserve and this party hack system of new votes for our Senedd that Plaid are backing will only embed the jobs… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
8 days ago
Reply to  Richard

Well, the reform bill was voted on in the Senedd also contained the expansion of the Senedd powers to represent Wales. With the intention of taking more powers from the UK system. If Plaid Cymru had voted this legislation down we would have also lost the good reforms within the bill. Yes, Plaid Cymru wants the Single Transferable Vote and so does the Liberal Democrats. Even the Liberal democrats had to vote for the whole bill, because losing the good reforms would be against the Welsh interests to lose. The Labour group that controls the Senedd would give the chamber… Read more »

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
15 days ago

Anonyvoter has to be looked into more. Is this software being used in every Labour Party selection contest whether it is in Wales or England?

David
David
15 days ago

The Labour party is a front for the mafia.

Maesglas
Maesglas
15 days ago

Stitch up Labour at it again. This is not going to end well. Neither Starmer nor Gething have the character, courage, or imagination to solve our problems.

Jones Arfon
Jones Arfon
15 days ago

Anyone with any ethical standards or moral standing would not contemplate involvement with Welsh Labour or the union movement in Wales that gerrymandered Vaughan Gething into an undeserved position of power in Wales

Frank
Frank
15 days ago

Any inappropriate behaviour or “cheating” should be taken very seriously indeed and the successful First Minister should be suspended immediately pending investigation. We do not want “cheaters” running Cymru. We need sincere, passionate, honest and squeaky clean people in the Senedd. The vote for a First Minister should be the decision of the electorate and organised by a neutral body. However, finding someone who isn’t corrupt or easily corrupted would be a big problem. What the hell is going on?

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
15 days ago
Reply to  Frank

What is going on are the expected Labour party stitch ups. It seems to be a common theme over the border where candidates are increasingly just forced on the electorate against the wishes of local party members.

Frank
Frank
15 days ago

If the Labour election team is suspected of cheating why is the First Minister still in office?

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
15 days ago

So receiving a monetary gift from a criminal and refusing to give it back, important whatsapp messages ‘disappearing’ because of a ‘technical issue’, victory secured via the blanket votes of English unions and not home grown support. And now this. I honestly have no idea how V.G. even wants to continue in office knowing full well that he won by dubious means and not by virtue of his character or the support of his colleagues.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
15 days ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Ac i ychwanegu: Plaid Cymru, yn enw pob rheswm, rhuddin a moes, mae angen ichi ddod allan o’r cytundeb cydweithio efo’r blaid lwgr yma. Does dim diwedd ar eu castiau, a dim cywilydd yn agos i’w gwedd. Dydy’r Baid Lafur yn hidio botwm corn am Gymru. Plaid unoliaethol yw hi, eisio cadw Cymru’n rhwym wrth goron Lloegr hyd diwedd y byd. Ni ddaw dim da o gynnal breichiau plaid lwgr. Dysgwch o hanes. Magwch ychydig o ruddin. Ble’r aeth hen ysbryd y deffroad? Dyma chi rŵan yn meddwi ar y mymryn rym sydd gennych gan yrru neges glir i bobl… Read more »

A Evans
A Evans
11 days ago

Welsh Labour, or should I say Closet Communists, are riddled with corruption in everything they do! From ignoring the wishes of the electorate to financial swindles! Dealing with known criminals who are looking for Senedd acceptance on lucrative financial projects! Abusing expenses & funding “jollies” for supporting members!

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