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Vaughan Gething employs close friend to support and advise him

10 May 2024 5 minute read
David Hagendyk, a former general secretary of Welsh. Labour. Photo Colegau Cymru

Martin Shipton

One of Vaughan Gething’s closest friends has been seconded to the Welsh Government to provide him with support and advice as he deals with the crisis surrounding his leadership.

David Hagendyk, a former general secretary of Welsh Labour and currently chief executive of Colegau Cymru / Colleges Wales, is working on a temporary contract for three months that is open to renewal.

A statement on Colegau Cymru’s website says: “This week Colegau Cymru chief executive David Hagendyk will be starting a three-month secondment into Welsh Government. During this time, Kelly Edwards will become the interim chief executive at Colegau Cymru leading the organisation through the spring and summer months. Colegau Cymru’s activities will continue as normal during this period.”

Trusted

A Welsh Labour insider told Nation.Cymru: “Dave Hagendyk is a very close friend of Vaughan’s and they have known each other since they were both teenagers. Dave is trusted by Vaughan, who will value his support and advice. There has already been a slight change of tone in his response to the donations scandal.

“While previously Vaughan stuck to the line that he was operating within the rules by accepting £200k from a convicted polluter, he has now accepted that many people have been hurt by the donation. He still hasn’t apologised or said he was wrong to take the money, but it’s a shift from his previous position. Vaughan knows he doesn’t have the support of the majority of the Labour group and that he needs allies. Having a close friend like Dave with him in government to advise him will, he thinks, help him deal with the crisis.”

Asked to explain the purpose of Mr Hagendyk’s temporary appointment, a Welsh Government spokesman said: “We don’t comment on staffing matters – but just to clarify, David Hagendyk was asked within a couple of days of the FM being appointed in March.”

Donations

Nation.Cymru revealed on February 21 that Mr Gething had received donations totalling £200k from Dauson Environmental Group. David Neal, director and owner of the group, had previously been given two suspended prison sentences for dumping toxic sludge in the Gwent Levels, a sensitive wetlands landscape south east of Newport.

We have also been told that Mr Gething had wanted to appoint another of his close friends, Matt Greenough, as a special adviser, but that a formal job offer was not made after members of the Labour group in the Senedd raised objections. Mr Greenough was senior special adviser to the Welsh Government during Carwyn Jones’ time as First Minister. In 2017 Carl Sargeant took his own life days after being sacked from the Cabinet following unspecified allegations of inappropriate behavior towards three women. Mr Jones and Mr Greenough had refused to reveal the identity of the accusers to Mr Sargeant.

Sadiq Khan

Mr Greenough recently acted as campaign director for London Mayor Sadiq Khan. In a posting on Linked-In he wrote: “The campaign to re-elect Sadiq Khan for an historic third-term as Mayor of London has come to an end. And it went rather well. Returned with his biggest winning margin and with a mandate to keep London’s vibrant, progressive, and world-leading policies on track for another four years.

“It was an absolute honour to work as campaign director for Sadiq. I got to work with some of the best in the business – on digital, comms, policy, organisation, writers and leaders – it was a stellar team. When I took the role, I told anyone who would listen that the campaign would be hard, hard work – incumbency is a tough gig, especially right now. But, it was actually a lot of fun too. The right sort of campaign doesn’t just win elections, it builds bonds for life. And that’s what we’ve just done in London. Politics doesn’t have to be grim and grinding, you can win by being inspiring.

“I am now back to consulting with the United Nations (where Sadiq’s re-election has not gone unnoticed), reconnecting with Wales’ brilliant children’s hospices and, as ever, looking for the next project. Get in touch if you have one.”

Electoral Commission

Meanwhile it has emerged that the Electoral Commission made an administrative error by failing to record properly a donation of £42,000 from Mr Neal’s group to Mr Gething’s earlier leadership campaign in 2018, when he was defeated by Mark Drakeford. The Electoral Commission said it had left off the extra money from its donations database in an error that came to light this week after queries from BBC Wales.

Its website had previously shown that Dauson Environmental Group companies gave £38,000 to the 2018 Vaughan Gething campaign, but accounts for the firm from 2018-19 show that it gave a total of £80,000. The now updated database shows he raised a total of more than £112,000 in cash that year, including from Dauson companies Atlantic Recycling, Neal Soil Suppliers and Cardiff Demolition.


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David
David
16 days ago

The advice which should be given to V(BoJo)G is to resign.

Arthur
Arthur
16 days ago
Reply to  David

Will all the new sennedd members be friends or relatives of existing labour ministers?

Why vote
Why vote
16 days ago

Giving his mates jobs awwww thats nice of him, stinks a bit but he dose not care one jot what people or voters think of him.

Keith Parry
Keith Parry
16 days ago

Twenty Five years of Labour is enough. What is Plaid Cymru doing supporting these people instead of campaigning to get rid of them.

hdavies15
hdavies15
16 days ago
Reply to  Keith Parry

Plaid like to be close to the handouts in the hope that some of it will get passed on to them !!

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
16 days ago
Reply to  Keith Parry

Plaid Cymru MUST terminate any co-operation agreement with this corrupt UK Tory backing em. Welsh? labour government. Plaid Cymru is the only competent opposition party here in Wales that can likely form a government here in Wales. There is a general election coming in the UK. More important, We have Senedd elections in 2026 it may be the last chance for Wales to express its sovereignty before the UK becomes a dictatorship. Plaid Cymru must press for our independence and become the government of our country to deliver it. The Ukraine tried the same with the USSR/Russia as Welsh Labour… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

This mate of Khan’s sounds the real deal…

Old story told in a couple of books…

It took a Cornishman fifty thousand miles to point out to some copper miners in Bontddu that the funny yellow metal they were throwing on the spoil heap was actually Gold…!

Frank
Frank
16 days ago

Go now!!

Dafydd ap Gwilym
Dafydd ap Gwilym
16 days ago

WTF!? If a person elected to lead a party can’t cope or worse still has to take advice from another ‘non-elected’, he shouldn’t be in that position. That is what elected colleagues are for! Gething is by his own words and deeds (whether consciously or in his own special place) inept and more than likely, crafty. Inept, regarding fulfilling his responsibilities to the people. Crafty, with a possible view in just feathering his own nest. He makes me wonder if (and I can’t believe I’m even thinking this let alone typing it), little Kenny Skates is ready for long trousers!?… Read more »

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