PM backs calls for investigation into Welsh FM’s campaign donation

The Prime Minister has backed calls for an independent inquiry into a donation received by the Welsh First Minister, saying “answers are needed”.

Vaughan Gething, who became the Welsh government leader in March, has been under fire in recent weeks for having taken a £200,000 donation from a man convicted of environmental offences, with concerns over a possible conflict of interest.

He received the money from the Dauson Environmental Group during his campaign to become the Welsh Labour leader.

Rishi Sunak supported calls for an independent investigation during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

The PM said it was “an incredibly important issue” and there was a need for “transparency and an investigation”.

Prime Minister’s Questions
Rishi Sunak speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions (UK Parliament)

It comes as the Senedd members are set to vote on a Conservative motion on Wednesday calling for the First Minister to appoint an independent adviser to the ministerial code to investigate any possible conflict of interests.

At the same time, Plaid Cymru has put forward its own motion calling for a cap on the annual maximum amounts of political donations an individual Member of the Senedd can receive.

The opposition groups are critical of the First Minister for having taken the money from the Dauson group, which is owned by David Neal, who has previously been convicted of environmental offences.

They have also raised concerns of a possible conflict of interest in his campaign having accepted the money from a company which was loaned £400,000 by the Welsh government-owned Development Bank of Wales (DBW).

The loan from the DBW was given to Neal Soil Suppliers – a subsidiary of Dauson – in 2023 to help purchase a solar farm.

Mr Gething has always insisted that he cannot take any decision relating to Dauson – which is based in his constituency – and the DBW is entirely independent of ministers.

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

The Dauson group has also been criticised for ongoing odour issues at its landfill in Withyhedge in Pembrokeshire.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Stephen Crabb, the Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, raised the plight of his constituents and the donation investigation.

He said: “For six months thousands of my constituents have lived with foul, polluted air from the with the Withyhedge landfill site.

“The company is owned by somebody with previous convictions for environmental crimes and who a few months ago gave £200,000 to help Vaughan Gething become First Minister of Wales, after another of his other companies was loaned £400,000 pounds from the Development Bank of Wales overseen by the then economy minister Vaughan Gething.

“Does the Prime Minister agree with me that this serious matter demands an independent investigation? It’s not some internal Labour Party matter.

“And ultimately, that company needs to get out of my constituency and let people in Pembrokeshire have their quality of life back.”

Mr Sunak said it was “an incredibly important issue”, adding: “I know that people in Wales are concerned about the relationship that he mentions.

“And I also agree with him on the need for transparency and an investigation regarding the Welsh Labour leader because it’s very clear that the situation is not at all transparent and answers are needed.”

Mr Gething has previously said that a “reasonable person understanding the facts” would not think there was a conflict of interest in the donation.

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