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Nearly 70% say Gething was wrong to accept £200,000 from a criminal

05 Jul 2024 4 minute read
First Minister Vaughan Gething – Image: Matthew Horwood/Welsh Government

Martin Shipton

An exclusive Beaufort Research poll for NationCymru has shown that more than two thirds of people in Wales (68%) believe it was unacceptable for Vaughan Gething to have accepted donations totalling £200,000 from a waste firm whose owner had been convicted for illegally dumping waste.

Less than two in 10 people (19%) thought accepting the money from David Neal’s Dauson Environmental Group was acceptable, with the rest saying they didn’t know.

Older people were most likely to take the view that it wasn’t acceptable (with 77% of those over aged 55+ doing so, compared to 55% of 16-34s), although younger people were much more likely to answer “don’t know”.

Regional variations

In terms of regional variations, people living in mid and west Wales (75%) had the highest level of disapproval for Mr Gething’s decision to accept the £200k. Disapproval rates elsewhere were 72% in north Wales; 66% in the Valleys; 65% in Cardiff and south east Wales; and 61% in west south Wales.

Men (68%) and women (67%) were almost equally disapproving of the First Minister’s decision to accept Mr Neal’s money.

Those in higher social classes (ABC1s) were marginally more likely to disapprove (69%) than those in lower socio-economic groups (CDEs – 66%).

There was little difference between the disapproval rates for Welsh speakers (69%) and non-Welsh speakers (67%).

Overall, people were more likely to strongly disagree that it was reasonable to accept the donation (42%) than simply disagree (26%). On the other hand, just 4% of people strongly approved of Mr Gething’s decision to take the cash, with a further 15% simply agreeing it was acceptable.

Controversy

Mr Gething’s time as First Minister has been mired in controversy since NationCymru revealed in February that he had accepted the £200k towards his Welsh Labour leadership campaign, in which he narrowly defeated Jeremy Miles the following month, despite Mr Neal having received two suspended prison sentences for allowing his company to dump toxic sludge in the sensitive wetlands landscape of the Gwent Levels.

Subsequently we had leaked to us a screenshot of Mr Gething saying he was deleting iMessages posted to a ministerial group chat during the Covid period, despite being warned that government business carried out in such group chats should be preserved as a public record. Mr Gething specifically stated that he was deleting messages because they would be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Yet he failed to mention this when giving evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry, instead asserting that he hadn’t deleted messages and claiming that deletions had occurred when his mobile phone was refitted by the Senedd’s IT department.

Cardiff Bay Bubble

The Beaufort Research poll results refute the line taken by Mr Gething and Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens that only people in the so-called “Cardiff Bay Bubble” are concerned about the decision to accept £200,000 from a convicted criminal.

Mr Gething, Ms Stevens and Sir Keir Starmer have also sought to diminish the significance of the no confidence motion passed by the Senedd in the First Minister, describing it as “a Tory gimmick” that Plaid Cymru went along with. In fact two Labour MSs – Hannah Blythyn and Lee Waters – abstained on the vote, ensuring that it passed. While both had sick notes, each had reasons not to be favourably disposed towards Mr Gething. He had sacked her as Social Partnership Minster, accusing her of leaking a screenshot of the iMessage in which he admitted that he was deleting messages because they were disclosable under the Freedom of Information Act. She has vehemently denied leaking the screenshot. NationCymru does not reveal its sources.

Mr Waters has publicly criticised Mr Gething’s decision to accept Mr Neal’s money.

* Fieldwork for the survey took place between June 3 and June 23, with a total of 1,000 interviews completed and analysed. The results were weighted to reflect the demographic make-up of Wales’ population.


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Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
9 days ago

His party won handsomely.

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
9 days ago

The only places in the UK where Labour share in fell was in Wales along with London.
The same places where Labour were in power, says something!

Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
9 days ago
Reply to  Welsh Patriot

Beth am Manceinion?

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
9 days ago

Not really, Labour only won 34% of votes in Wales the other 66% rejected them one way or the other. Much of the 34% was probably more about getting the Tories out rather than support for the very vague Labour policies.. In the end I doubt a win will be repeated when the next Senedd elections are announced. Wales is bottom on everything from the NHS to education.

Sneb yn gwbod.
Sneb yn gwbod.
8 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Reform got more votes than Plaid.

R W
R W
8 days ago
Reply to  Sneb yn gwbod.

Many people vote differently at Senedd elections. Plaid tend to get around double the percentage of votes at Senedd elections compared to the amount they get in a UK general election.

Sneb yn gwbod.
Sneb yn gwbod.
8 days ago
Reply to  R W

Plastic Plaid

R W
R W
8 days ago
Reply to  Sneb yn gwbod.

That must be the most pathetic comment I’ve ever seen!!

Welshman28
Welshman28
9 days ago

And his arrogance will continue , for those who voted Labour is this really how you want to be represented by a man who constantly tells us he’s done nothing wrong and he will carry on . This is the true face of a dictatorship in Wales it really looks like now

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
9 days ago

The other 30% presumably were given brown envelopes!

Why vote
Why vote
9 days ago

My granny always said, be careful what you wish for.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
9 days ago

Only 70%?

Whatever happened to integrity?

Ian
Ian
9 days ago

Got away with it though, hasn’t he?

John Ellis
John Ellis
9 days ago

No one in fact asked me, but I unreservedly agree with the nearly 70%. Moreover, I incline to the view that rather a lot of folk living in Wales who also weren’t surveyed are likely to feel the same.

I didn’t always agree with Mark Drakeford during his period of office as first minister, but over time he convinced me both of his integrity and of his genuine commitment, as he perceived them, to the best interests of Wales. It’s not taken that long for me to reach the conclusion that I just can’t believe the same about Vaughan Gething.

Last edited 9 days ago by John Ellis
John Powers
John Powers
9 days ago

If it’s not a barrier to standing for election why should it be a barrier to donating.

Should donations be refused from anyone who’s ever had speeding points?

This conversation should be about the rules. Not about someone who followed them.

Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
8 days ago
Reply to  John Powers

But it’s not just about the rules. It’s about the the way he’s dealt with the situation which has revealed his inability to be a leader. His arrogance is unbelievable. He should have foreseen the situation that he was going to create. £200,000 is a VERY large sum of money to be given by one man just to help someone to get a job in a 2 horse race. (Especially when it comes from someone who can be connected with a previous development loan.) His actions surrounding deleted messages and sacking dissenters hasn’t shown him to be a man of… Read more »

John Powers
John Powers
8 days ago
Reply to  Old Curmudgeon

If it’s too much money then change the rules to define what’s too much.

He’s certainly guilty of bad political judgement to get himself into this position but that’s not enough to justify the scale of the backlash and media scrutiny which is hugely disproportionate to any previous FM.

You have to question the real motives of those crying foul without any interest in changing the rules.

CapM
CapM
8 days ago
Reply to  John Powers

” the scale of the backlash and media scrutiny which is hugely disproportionate to any previous FM.”

No other FM ever accepted such a huge donation or a donation from a convicted criminal and to be used in order that they could further their political career.

Also the only other FM who was considered by Senedd (then Assembly) Members to be a lapdog for a Labour Prime Minister was forced to resign. Whereas Gething is still clinging on even after losing a no confidence vote.

And you are looking for more real motives!

John Powers
John Powers
8 days ago
Reply to  CapM

The statement was broader than the donation issue. The level of scrutiny is unprecedented. You’ve no idea what could’ve been uncovered and spun to create distorted headlines because no-one bothered looking. Scrutiny is fine and important if it’s consistent. But this isn’t. So let’s be very clear. Not everyone who objects to Mr Gething is doing so because they don’t want someone who looks like him representing Wales. But everyone who doesn’t want someone who looks like him representing Wales will be objecting as loudly as possible using any pseudo-legitimate means they can. So how can someone who genuinely wants… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by John Powers
CapM
CapM
8 days ago
Reply to  John Powers

The donation is bad enough in itself. Seeing as Gething is on record numerous times stating he accepted the money, knew who it was from and used it to pay for his leadership election I can’t see “spin” being an issue. However saying that his ethnicity is what is generating the scrutiny is an example of “spin”. You basically say that racists do not want an independent investigation but neither do Gething’s supporters or even Gething himself. What’s to be made of that. – Gething’s supporters are racists,I hardly think so. Gething himself is a racist. I hardly think so.… Read more »

John Powers
John Powers
8 days ago
Reply to  CapM

So how do you draw a distinction between the two groups? You say it’s not the driver but how can you know that unless you believe there’s no-one holding those views, that racism doesn’t exist in Wales. Is that your argument?

CapM
CapM
8 days ago
Reply to  John Powers

What two groups exactly?

John Powers
John Powers
8 days ago
Reply to  CapM

The two groups indicated in my post which you responded to and I’ll reproduce here:

“So how can someone who genuinely wants a cleaner better politics than is normal in SW1 be sure they’re not standing shoulder to shoulder with racists?”

To be clear, one group are those wanting a cleaner better politics. The other are the racists.

And I’m baffled why anyone wanting a cleaner better politics would oppose an investigation or strict limits on donations.

But maybe you can clear that up.

CapM
CapM
8 days ago
Reply to  John Powers

I can’t make out what your position is. Maybe it’s because I refer to an independent investigation and you keep referring to an investigation (in house by Labour). Anyway in an attempt to avoid keeping going around in circles my view is – It’s perfectly possible for someone concerned with the integrity of the Senedd and democracy in Cymru to want an independent investigation and not be a racist (or stand with them) even if there are racists that want an independent investigation for other reasons. Gething acceptance of the donation left him open to questions about his integrity and… Read more »

John Powers
John Powers
7 days ago
Reply to  CapM

That’s the first mention of support for any investigation. A Sue Gray style report is all it needs. Now your position on reforming donation rules? I think the rules should require donors to meet the same tests as those standing for election, which should be tightened because convicted criminals can stand for election. Even driving points from 20 years ago should be a barrier. And sums should be capped at £10k per person per year.. Or we get rid of donations altogether and have the state fund our politics.

Last edited 7 days ago by John Powers
John Ellis
John Ellis
7 days ago

I heard veteran Labour ex-politician Dr Kim Howells being interviewed by Vaughan Roderick on Radio Wales’s politics programme Sunday Supplement this morning. His view was that Welsh Labour urgently needs to revisit the leadership issue, and sooner rather than later.

Indeed he went further, saying that he’d discussed this matter with a number of Welsh Labour figures of his generation, and their general view was that if Thursday’s election had been to elect the Senedd rather than a Westminster House of Commons, Labour would likely have lost its majority.

Maybe the party down in Cardiff Bay needs to ponder that!

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