Vaughan Gething says he didn't know donations firm was linked to criminal probe

First Minister Vaughan Gething says he did not know a company was linked to a criminal investigation when it donated money to his leadership bid.

Mr Gething has faced persistent questions over £200,000 his campaign received from businessman David Neal, who was previously convicted for environmental crimes. One of his company's - Resources Management Limited - is currently being investigated by Natural Resources Wales.

The issue was first put to Mr Gething by the BBC at the Urdd Eisteddfod on Friday.

Vaughan Gething told ITV Cymru Wales on Monday: "I wasn't aware of the investigations and there is no reason why I would have been."I've complied with all of the rules throughout the leadership contest that ended several months ago.

"My focus is on doing the right thing for Wales, with the responsibilities I have for every single community in the country and making a success story of that.

"We are in a period of unprecedented change now with a general election which will make a big difference for every family in Wales, a big difference about what the Welsh Government can do in the future, that will remain my focus and making sure that now and in the future I comply with all the rules that I am required to do... that's what you can expect from me as your first minister."

RML runs the Withyhedge landfill site near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, which people have complained since October 2023 over the odour it is creating.

Andrew RT Davies MS, leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, said: "Vaughan Gething’s donations just don’t pass the smell test.

"So desperate was he to be first minister, he accepted this dirty money despite the misery these firms have caused, and so desperate is Keir Starmer to be prime minister, he is prepared to stand with Vaughan Gething on this issue.

“It’s time to restore integrity to the office of first minister.”

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said: “Despite what his Labour colleagues have said in his defence – it appears that the more you dig on the first minister's dodgy donations, the more you find.

“It’s absolutely beggars belief that Vaughan Gething nor his team knew that the £200,000 donation was not only from a convicted polluter, but was also linked to a criminal investigation at the very time the donation was accepted.

"Very little due diligence was taken - or perhaps none at all - when accepting the largest individual political donation in Wales’ history and raises more serious questions about the first minister’s judgement.

“By continuing to brush off these serious questions, Mr Gething is undermining the office of first minister and the people of Wales’ confidence.”Mr Neal's representatives have been approached for a comment.

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