Welsh Secretary wades into Vaughan Gething donations row with letter to Labour leader Keir Starmer

Vaughan Gething and Keir Starmer
First Minister Vaughan Gething with Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Secretary has weighed into the row over Vaughan Gething’s £200,000 campaign donations, writing to the UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

It comes after Mr Gething spent another session of First Minister’s Questions defending the controversial donations in the face of sustained criticism from opposition party leaders.

He had previously rejected their calls for an independent inquiry, saying there had been no conflict of interest.

The opposition leaders had made their calls after it was revealed that the company which made the donations, Dauson Environmental Group, is repaying a loan to the Development Bank of Wales, which is owned by the Welsh Government.

Mr Gething has previously defended his decision to accept the donation. Credit: PA

In the Senedd, the first minister said: "When it comes to support provided by the Development Bank of Wales, they made an investment choice with a commercial loan more than a year ago. And that has gone into the purchase of an individual asset and repayments are being made in line with the terms of that loan.

"All of those loan and equity investments to businesses in Wales are made independent of the Welsh Government by the Development Bank. Those are the facts. There is no reason to undertake an investigation when the facts are so clear and unambiguous."

David Neal, the director of Dauson Environmental Group, said: "As a Welsh company, the Dauson Environmental Group has a wide number of operations and assets and is committed to investing in the future of Wales, as well as 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.

"With regards to the donation, as a Welsh business, we want to see the economy, communities, and environment continue to prosper in Wales, and we supported Vaughan Gething’s campaign as we felt that he was the best person for the job.

"Dauson Environmental Group has not engaged with Vaughan Gething or his ministerial department regarding any planning applications and we would not expect him to have any involvement in these decisions."

Now the Conservative Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies, has written to the UK Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer.

In the letter, he writes: "In an article published by the BBC on 25 March you offered support to the first minister, saying: ‘He has not broken any rules and that is the end of the matter.’”

He asks if Sir Keir was aware of all the information when he made the statement and “if not, would you agree with me that you should have been told?”

The letter goes on to state that “Jeremy Miles has said he 'would not have accepted' these donations. Do you think Vaughan Gething was wrong to have accepted this donation?"

It ends by asking "Is Welsh Labour still your blueprint for government?"

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