Vaughan Gething's leftover donations will go to 'progressive causes' instead of Welsh Labour

  • Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth quizzes First Minister Vaughan Gething about the leftovers of his controversial leadership donations.

Welsh Labour has confirmed that it won’t be given leftover money from donations to Vaughan Gething’s leadership campaign.

The cash will be donated to “progressive causes” which Welsh Conservatives said was “a damning indictment of Vaughan Gething’s judgement by his own party".

Meanwhile, the first minister rejected Conservative calls to publish evidence used to justify last week’s sacking of cabinet minister, Hannah Blythyn MS.

The new developments emerged as another intense session of First Minister’s Questions took place, which has been dominated by challenges relating to the donations row every week since Mr Gething took over the top job.

Controversy began during the leadership campaign itself when it emerged that Mr Gething had accepted £200,000 in donations from Dauson Environmental Group whose owner had been convicted of environment offences.

In total Mr Gething raised more than £250,000 and had reported a surplus of £31,600.

Under party rules that surplus is returned to the Labour Party and, in this case, to Welsh Labour but there has been unease about that happening.

Today, a Welsh Labour spokesperson said: "As agreed by the officers of the Welsh executive committee, Vaughan Gething is donating surplus funds from his campaign to wider progressive causes."

It’s understood that a meeting of the full Welsh executive committee will approve the donation.

The Welsh Conservatives have seized on the announcement. Their leader Andrew RT Davies said: "This is a damning indictment of Vaughan Gething’s judgement by his own party."

In First Minister’s Questions, Mr Gething said: “In accordance with the rules of the contest I'm required to return the money to Welsh Labour. They've agreed to my request to provide that money to progressive causes, and the Welsh executive of Welsh Labour now need to decide that.

“I want to be clear that I won't take a part in making that decision; I think they need to have that conversation freely and without me in the room.”

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said that “passing on the residual £31,000 is the easy bit, isn't it?

“We still think, as do many Labour members, that the right thing to do would have been to pay back the money in its entirety. But also we have confirmation now that Labour won't take the money.

“That money would have tainted the whole Labour general election campaign. So, doesn't Labour's decision to reject it prove the first minister's serious error of judgment in being more than happy to take it in the first place?”

In response, Mr Gething said: “I think actually it shows that they have taken seriously the request I made for the money to be used for a different purpose.

“As ever, not only have I acted within the rules, but I've also recognised the points that a number of members have made, which is why there's a process within my own party to look at the future rules to understand the tests that everyone needs to meet.”

Also during First Minister’s Questions, Mr Gething was challenged to publish the evidence he used as a basis for sacking Hannah Blythyn.

  • Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies asks First Minister Vaughan Gething about his sacking of Hannah Blythyn from the Welsh Government cabinet.

He asked her to leave her post as social partnership minister last week, effectively accusing her of leaking information to the media, claims which she denies.

In a statement at the time he said: "Having reviewed the evidence available to me regarding the recent disclosure of communication to the media, I have regrettably reached the conclusion I have no alternative but to ask Hannah Blythyn to leave the government."

In response, she posted on social media: “I am deeply shocked and saddened by what has happened today. I am clear and have been clear that I did not, nor have I ever leaked anything. Integrity is all in politics and I retain mine.”

In the chamber, Andrew RT Davies asked the first minister: “Could you confirm exactly what evidence you have got, and how that evidence stacks up, when the deputy minister's made it quite clear that she did not leak information and she maintains her integrity?”

Mr Gething said: “This has been a very difficult time for members across the government, including, of course, the member who has now left the government.

“No government in any part of the UK would either give a running commentary or publish all of the information.

"Some of that information is sensitive to other ministers.

"It's important, though, that once you reach a conclusion properly that you have not just a choice, but in this office a responsibility to act, which is what I've done, despite all the difficulties and the challenge that causes.”

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