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Former FM to lead Welsh Labour campaign donations review

Carwyn Jones will hold a review into Welsh Labour’s leadership election process, including campaign financing.

New First Minister of Wales

A former Welsh Labour leader is set to look into the electoral finances of the current First Minister.

Vaughan Gething has appointed Carwyn Jones, a former Welsh first minister, to carry out a review of how the party’s elections are carried out, including examining campaign financing.

Welsh Conservatives have objected to the review, arguing it is Labour “marking their own homework”.

Welsh Labour has been contacted asking for more details on the review.

Mark Drakeford’s replacement
Vaughan Gething (left) talks to former first minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones (Ben Birchall/PA)

The announcement comes after Mr Gething, who became the Welsh government leader in March, received a controversial £200,000 campaign donation from a man convicted of environmental offences.

His decision to take the money has been criticised by political opponents and members of his own party, with his leadership opponent, Jeremy Miles, saying on Sunday that he would not have taken it.

Both the Tories and Plaid Cymru have called for an independent investigation into the money and a potential conflict of interest after further revelations over the weekend that the Development Bank of Wales (DBW), which is owned by the Welsh Government, had loaned the company £400,000.

The loan from the DBW was given to Neal Soil Suppliers – a subsidiary of the Dauson Environmental Group which donated to Mr Gething – in 2023 to help purchase a solar farm.

David Neal, who owns Dauson, has twice been convicted of environmental offences.

Mr Gething made the review announcement in an interview with ITV Wales’ Sharp End.

He said: “As the leader of Welsh Labour, I’ve attended a very harmonious and positive meeting of the Welsh executive just this weekend gone, at which we have honoured my commitment to have a proper review of the elections process.

“Campaign finances is one of the issues to be agreed.

“Carwyn Jones, at my request, has agreed to chair that review, and it will report back to the chief executive of Welsh Labour in September.”

Mr Jones has previously criticised Mr Gething for having taken the donation, branding the decision “unfortunate” and that “lessons there need to be learned”.

Conservative Party Conference 2022
Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, criticised the review (PA)

Andrew RT Davies MS, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said: “A review in which Welsh Labour mark their own homework will not command the confidence of the wider public.

“There are direct questions to be answered about the perception of a conflict of interest over Gething’s donations that relate to the Ministerial Code, and they are not just questions for the Labour Party.

“Gething must now accept that a full, independent investigation is the only way to address the widely held concerns over his campaign finances.”

A Dauson spokesperson has said that none of the loan from the DBW went towards the donations to Mr Gething, with the money used to support economic growth.

Mr Gething and his team have repeatedly rejected calls to pay back the money, insisting the donation was declared in line with Senedd and Electoral Commission rules and that he is committed to transparency.

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