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Welsh Labour ‘will be a party in crisis if Vaughan Gething wins because of a stitch-up’

04 Feb 2024 5 minute read
Left: Vaughan Gething – Right: Jeremy Miles

Martin Shipton

Welsh Labour will become a party in crisis if Vaughan Gething is elected leader as a result of a union “stitch-up”, it has been claimed.

A senior party source who spoke to Nation.Cymru on condition that they are not identified claimed that while Mr Gething’s rival Jeremy Miles was “well ahead” among party members, there was a possibility that votes cast by members of affiliated trade unions could swing the result Mr Gething’s way.

According to Welsh Labour leadership election rules, such union members have as much of a right to vote as members of the party itself.

We were the first media outlet to reveal that Mr Miles had been disqualified from receiving Unite the Union’s endorsement because of the dubious use of a recently introduced union rule.

Both candidates had already spoken to members of Unite’s Welsh political committee when the union’s “regional secretary” Peter Hughes intervened and said that Mr Miles was ineligible for the nomination because he had never been a union lay official. Mr Gething was then endorsed by default.

First-time candidates

It later emerged that Mr Gething had only joined Unite in recent months and that the recently introduced rule did not appear to apply to the leadership election, but to would-be first-time candidates for the Senedd and other parliaments.

Unite’s general secretary Sharon Graham has not responded to Mr Miles’ attempt to contact her to discuss the matter. Mr Miles’ team believes Mr Hughes only intervened when it appeared the committee was likely to back him.

Five other big trade unions have also nominated Mr Gething for the leadership without balloting their members – Unison, the GMB, the Communication Workers’ Union, Community and Usdaw.

‘Absolutely corrupt’

A senior Welsh Labour source told us: “The election system we have is absolutely corrupt and none of this should be happening. It’s no way to elect a national leader.

“There are less than 20,000 members of the Labour Party in Wales and more than 100,000 members of affiliated trade unions. While Jeremy Miles is clearly ahead amongst party members, Vaughan Gething has a huge advantage as a result of securing the union nominations.

“The unions are bombarding their members with material that promotes Vaughan while Jeremy doesn’t have access to the unions’ membership details and therefore can’t make direct contact with the majority of people entitled to vote in the leadership election.”

The party insider said that Mr Gething’s team was using the strategy that gave their candidate the best chance of winning: “They know that the majority of Welsh Labour members won’t vote for Vaughan Gething, so they’re concentrating their efforts on winning the union vote. They’re hoping that union members will follow the recommendation of their union and vote for Vaughan.

“If they do so in sufficient numbers, he will win. In many cases they are people who are only affiliated members of the Labour Party because they haven’t got round to signing a form to opt out. These are people who are never going to go to a hustings meeting to observe the two candidates in action or ask them questions. And that’s how Vaughan’s team likes it.

“It would be an absolute disaster for the Labour Party and for Wales if someone who didn’t have majority support among party members became the leader and First Minister. It will take us back to the time when Alun Michael beat Rhodri Morgan in a stitched-up election because Tony Blair wanted his man in charge.”

TUC general secretary

The senior party source also pointed out that Mr Gething had been keen to publicise the fact that former TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady had endorsed him. The source said: “Frances O’Grady has no connection with Wales. She’s never lived or worked here. So why was Vaughan determined to get her backing?

“If he wins, he’ll go along with Keir Starmer in everything. When Labour takes power at Westminster after the general election, Vaughan won’t be prepared to challenge Starmer. People know he’ll be as unquestioningly supportive to Starmer as Andrew RT Davies [the Welsh Conservative Senedd group leader] is to whoever happens to be running the Tory party in London at the time.

“This isn’t what the Labour Senedd group wants and explains why the majority are backing Jeremy Miles. And it’s why there will be a major crisis in the party if Vaughan wins and tries to change the policy direction.”

The source said that while the number of nominations from constituency parties were similar between Mr Miles and Mr Gething, Mr Miles was tending to win votes by a big margin. The source added: “In some of the local parties won by Vaughan, there were people at meetings who normally weren’t seen. In a couple of seats the original nomination for Jeremy was overturned for procedural reasons – in Caerphilly the calling notice for the meeting was sent out five hours late, and at the re-run meeting Vaughan’s supporters made sure they got enough members along to swing the vote.”

Yet despite what they saw as the inherent unfairness of the election system, the source insisted that Mr Miles could still win.

“He’s picking up a lot of support among local parties. Those of us who support him hope that the message will get across to union members that they don’t have to vote for Vaughan just because their union tells them to.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

Welsh Labour is a party in crisis, the country is a mirror image also in crisis, one 25 years in the making. The messiah has yet to be revealed to us…but is certainly not either of the above mentioned…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

The aim should be to have a member of Plaid as First Minister…

Liz should anoint Mabon ap Gwynfor…

hdavies15
hdavies15
16 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Labour has a crisis of defective thinking, a crisis of underachieving, failing to take responsibility, someone else’s fault every time. Plaid has colluded with Labour on the disgraceful plan to undermine what little is left of democratic process by embracing the closed list scam. It is arguable that our entire political representation is in a crisis of corruption.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I was thinking that earlier, heavens above, what to do. The contagion, like Covid, could not help but infect our system. Sold down the river over five centuries ago by our ‘betters’…and they never stopped…

Solicitor/Politicians ! Greed and Dishonesty…

David Zenati-Parsons
David Zenati-Parsons
16 days ago

Unite bombarding about Vaughn? not from my experience.

Annibendod
Annibendod
16 days ago

Welsh Lab members have privately told me some time ago that there would be a rupture if VG won over JM on the basis of his constitutional position. Add in the manner in which he is set to be elected and it is clear that this is not a party with Wales’ democratic interests at heart. There are good progressive folk amongst Welsh Labour’s membership. If those people find that their party has left them, that the decent values they hold have been abandoned in the pursuit of power above all else, there is a welcome waiting for them in… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
16 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Plaid Cymru needs to a full canvass within the next year.
We have 2 important general elections ahead and Wales needs us.

We need to gain at least another ten thousand members.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

I wonder where Labour and ‘Welsh’ Labour stand on going to war against Russia?

This idea seems to be gaining traction on the Tory benches. Alias Alias MP must be getting excited at the idea, what did you do in the war daddy? I started it so as to win the warmonger and military war machine vote and give Rishi Ji a thrill and another term. You can’t have an election as there is a war on…

Andrew
Andrew
16 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

MP’s who vote for war should be made to fight on the front lines alongside their family members of military age. I think you would find a sudden quietness is the call for war.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

The headline reads ‘protesters climbing war memorials could face jail’…

Politicians who would add names to war memorials in furtherance of their or their parties careers should be locked up on Anthrax Island…

Richard E
Richard E
16 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Sadly your views are echoing the folk in the late 1930s viewing the rise of a former evil empire. “ passing by on the other side “ ? Didnt work then comrade

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
15 days ago
Reply to  Richard E

If you know anything about history it was the predecessors of the current political establishment that actually wanted appeasement with Hitler whereas it was the predecessors of the Trade Union movement who vehemently warned against any thoughts of appeasement with Hitler.
If The English and French establishments hadn’t imposed harsh economic restrictions on Germany after WW1 then Hitler would never have become German chancellor in the First place.

Richard E
Richard E
14 days ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Correct historically for certain but only in part – I always made sure my history main students looked at not only the actual outcomes which resulted from action or inaction but the causes as a whole to avoid cherry 🍒 picking from their own individual view points

Richard E
Richard E
16 days ago

We are all ( well those interested anyway) are looking for a uniting individual who knows all of Wales and its cultures – undertands those outside his party and can reach across the political divide. I think most looking at the candidates will see perhaps the fit is obvious – though not a “ fit up “ 🤔

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

Try another headline “when dead children are just the price of doing business” says Carole Cadwalladar about Mr Meta’s apology…

She could have asked every politician in the world that question, starting in the Middle East…

Last edited 16 days ago by Mab Meirion
HarrisR
HarrisR
16 days ago

It’s being offered either cyanide or arsenic, “sorry dear, that’s today’s menu” British and Welsh politics is now solely a “displacement activity”, something designed to provide a necessary distraction, like hungry pigeons pecking the pavement, while the REAL business of foreclosing on people’s life chances, mindless flag waving, political class advancement and the “enlightened” plundering of the state takes place elsewhere. It’s a pantomime, an amateur dramatic production at the end of the pier, peopled by drunks, inadequates and sociopaths. Kids just say no, don’t waste your time. The lesser of two evils is still evil and a slope to… Read more »

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
16 days ago

It matters not how much of a crises there be Labour will still get in and Plaid will not step out of their heartlands.

CapM
CapM
15 days ago

A senior Welsh Labour source told us: “The election system we have is absolutely corrupt and none of this should be happening. It’s no way to elect a national leader.” That senior Welsh Labour source doesn’t seem to understand how our national leader is elected. The First Minister is elected by Senedd Members not Labour members or Unions. If the senior Welsh Labour source thinks that the the election system used to elect the leader of the Labour party in the Senedd is “absolutely corrupt” then they might want to do something about it and vote for a different nominee… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by CapM
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
15 days ago
Reply to  CapM

That has cleared that up…

‘The Monarch then officially appoints the Senedd’s preferred nominee’…

So he or she does not have to be from the largest party, interesting…

The best individual for the job, now who could that be ?

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
15 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Leanne

A Evans
A Evans
12 days ago

Welsh Labour are already in crisis with the 20mph fiasco being just the tip of a very large iceberg. A berg of vast sums of money wasted on idiotic projects, rejected relief road decisions, a farm, an Osprey sanctuary amo g others BUT the biggest part of it all is the proposed huge increase in Senedd members…..a bottomless pit of graft & expense!

Francis
Francis
12 days ago

Why don’t they work on minimum wage. Why you have no council members. Gravy train that’s all

Pmb
Pmb
11 days ago

It will not matter which of the exceedingly poor candidates get elected . The Senedd is full of inadequates , pretending to be something they are not . Devolution has been a complete failure , a sop to activists by Blair and co who wanted it out of their hair , knowing full that support for Labour would remain , a slight mis calculation in the case of Scotland but still left wing . If The Senedd was abolished with a guarantee the money would remain in Wales tied to an inflationary increase Wales would be better off and no… Read more »

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