Starmer won with help from Skewen van hire company boss who called Welsh Labour ‘third rate’

Keir Starmer. Picture by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

Keir Starmer became Labour leader with help from a Neath-based property and van hire firm run by a businessman who called the party’s leaders in Wales “third rate”, Nation.Cymru has found.

The favourite from the outset and backed by donations from major trade unions and wealthy businesspeople, Starmer’s campaign was also supported by the seemingly unlikely secondment of a staff member of Crownhawk Properties Ltd, which is run from Siding Terrace Main Road in Skewen.

One of the company’s 32 members of staff was seconded to assist the Holborn and St Pancras MP for the duration of the campaign between February 10 and April 3.

The support valued at £6,521.80 is revealed in the register of MPs’ interests with a note explaining: “The donor was to be repaid but the reimbursement was waived.”

The only other organisation that seconded a member of staff to Starmer’s campaign was the 1.3 million-member strong Unison trade union.

The arrangement seems to be explained by visits made to Neath by Starmer during which he met Crownhawk director Rod Lloyd, who is also the managing director of Low Cost Vans.

Starmer and Lloyd were pictured together with Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris in August 2019.

Starmer then visited the headquarters of Lloyd’s companies on January 30 this year at the start of his campaign with Harris, who he has since appointed as his private parliamentary secretary.

“Hopefully he’ll be the next leader,” said Lloyd in an introduction to staff, a video of which was posted on the company’s Twitter account.

 

‘Couldn’t make it’

Following Starmer’s election, Lloyd described him as a “compassionate statesman who will want to do his absolute best for the country in these awful times”.

Lloyd is an outspoken entrepreneur best known for taking part in 2016 Channel 4 documentary The Interview, in which he quizzed genuine applicants for a job at Low Cost Vans.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the nature of his business, he was an advocate for the controversial M4 relief road and was highly critical of the Welsh Government’s decision not to go ahead with the scheme.

He said it showed the Labour administration “are a government for Cardiff and not for Wales”, adding that it was “full of third rate politicians who couldn’t make it in Brussels or Westminster”.

Starmer won the highest number of nominations from Welsh MPs with 12, including the new shadow home secretary Nick Thomas Symonds and new shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens.

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Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

These comments about the calibre of Welsh Labour and its priorities are hardly controversial.

Wrexhamian
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Wrexhamian

Neither are they very wide of the mark. He’s wrong, though, about the M4 — for once, the WAG made the right decision there, even if it didn’t suit him personally.

Neither is there anything very newsworthy about 12 Welsh MPs voting for Starmer; look at the competition he faced! Hold the front page!

Ceri
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Ceri

Politicians in Cardiff ‘couldn’t make it in Brussels or Westminster’… Then has a meeting with Carolyn Harris…

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Wow, low cost vans……….life in the fast lane!

Llyn
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Llyn

The trope that the Welsh Assembly is “full of third rate polliticians who couldn’t make it in Brussels or Westminster” is one of the more absurd thrown at the Assembly. As much as you may not like some of them I don’t think that Adam Price, Mark Reckless, Huw Irranca-Davies, Neil Hamilton, Eluded Morgan, Dafydd Wigley, Dafydd Ellis Thomas…. were incapable MPs and MEPs. If the Assembly is the home of such poor politicians then that must be also be a damning indictment of the UK Gov considering the recent make up of the Welsh Office has included Alun Cairns,… Read more »

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Llyn You have unintentionally made a different point – that most of our political class nowadays is made up of lightweights and at best some middleweights. Of your list only Wigley was a real class act, DET had a good attempt in his early days but then drifted off into all sorts of limbo, and David Davies shows flashes of what he could become. The rest of them were 6 round material, hardly justifying 10 round outings. By the way not an uniquely Welsh problem as the politicians active in U.K and its 4 nations are in similar poor shape.… Read more »

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Comment by Independent reader on headline “Boris Back in Charge”………………….”Oh, whoopy dah doo!”

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

Sturgeon’s a ten-rounder.

Mr Rees
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Mr Rees

Anyone now advocating a major road building programme as a solution to our congestion problems …unfortunately, has a third rate brain!

Mr Lloyd
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Mr Lloyd

The third raters were the ones that canned the project without a plan B having already spent millions in public funds to acquire land and conduct studies. They are the third raters I spoke of and of course those who agree with them that wasting public funds without a back up plan is acceptable.