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Tories turn up pressure on Gething campaign donation

22 Apr 2024 3 minute read
First Minister Vaughan Gething – Image Senedd Cymru

Emily Price

The Welsh Conservatives are pushing the Welsh Government to provide answers on Vaughan Gething’s controversial £200,000 campaign donation.

Shadow Minister for Economy Sam Kurtz has today (April 22) written to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jeremy Miles, raising serious concerns about the propriety of donations to the First Minister’s successful Labour leadership campaign.

Dauson Environmental Group, based in Mr Gething’s constituency, donated £100k to his campaign on December 18 2023 and a further £100k on January 11 2024.

The main director of Dauson and its subsidiary companies, including Atlantic Recycling Ltd, is David Neal – a convicted polluter.

He received two suspended prison sentences for illegally dumping toxic sludge in the Gwent Levels, a sensitive wetlands landscape near Newport.

Concerns

The new intervention from the Welsh Tories comes following Nation.Cymru’s revelation on Saturday (20 April) that companies run by Mr Neal, owe £400,000 to a bank wholly owned by the Welsh Government – the Development Bank of Wales (DBW).

This has raised concerns that the First Minister’s campaign may have effectively been financed by money borrowed from the Welsh Government.

Mr Kurtz says the revelation calls into question the independence of DBW’s financing decisions, the use of public funds and the influence of the then-economy minister.

His letter presses Mr Miles to confirm how long before 13th December 2023 DWB agreed further financing for companies associated with Mr Neal.

He has called for transparency on what meetings took place between Mr Neal and the former economy minister’s office and DBW before business finance was extended.

Mr Kurtz has asked on what basis DBW deemed it necessary to loan a total of £400,000 and for what purpose the loans were required.

He has also called for urgent clarity on what the terms of the loan and repayment options and priorities were.

Donation

Mr Kurtz said: “This is an incredibly serious matter and urgent clarification is needed on whether the current First Minister knew about the Development Bank of Wales loans when he accepted the £200,000 donation.

“How were companies which needed £400,000 in loans from the Development Bank of Wales, then in a position to donate £200,000 to Vaughan Gething, the then-Minister in charge of the DBW? This calls into question the judgement of the current First Minister and the independence of DBW’s operations.”

At the weekend Plaid Cymru Leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth made calls for an independent investigation into the £200,000 donation.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “Welsh ministers do not take decisions on individual investments provided by DBW.”

A spokesperson for Dauson Environmental Group said: “As a growing Welsh business, Dauson Environmental Group is committed to investing in the operation and development of all our sites, as well as in the Welsh supply chain.

“This includes working with the Development Bank of Wales to support this economic growth. We can reassure you that none of the loans received contributed to the donations made by Dauson Environmental Group.”

Both former First Minister Mark Drakeford and Douglas Bain, the Senedd’s Standards Commissioner, concluded earlier that Mr Gething had not broken the Senedd Members’ Code of Conduct.


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Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

The dodgy donation isn’t the only issue though. He got in via the blanket votes of English unions who want a puppet for Starmer, and not through the support of Welsh party members and his fellow Senedd colleagues. I have no idea how he could even accept the Leadership knowing that, let alone continuing so brazenly. The arrogance.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 month ago

I agree the issue needs resolving but I question the Tory motive for pushing it, especially when their own house is in such a mess. Are they really interested in tidying up politics or just see it as another opportunity to bash Labour and gain that all important extra vote?

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve A Duggan

If the Tory party had any intention of helping to clean up politics, they would and could , with the huge majority they hold at Westminster, supported and passed the Plaid bill of Liz Saville Roberts to ban lying in the house of commons, sadly it was given short shrift by them.

Last edited 1 month ago by Gareth
Why vote
Why vote
1 month ago

Poor VG this just won’t go away, somebody gave him some money for absolutely no reason whatsoever and they don’t want it back. All for the benefit of this land called wales he’s been really really honest by declaring the donation with the relevant people within an organisation he is part of, he declares he has nothing to hide but won’t give the money back to the person who gave it to him in the first place. So the question is would anybody refuse to take 200 thousand pound from a person freely given without the need to repay it… Read more »

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