Cap on Labour leader donations on table in review

Carwyn Jones
Carwyn Jones is holding an internal Labour review [BBC]

A cap on donations to Welsh Labour leadership candidates will be considered after the controversy over funding for Vaughan Gething’s campaign.

Former first minister Carwyn Jones confirmed an internal party review will look at the size of donations to future contests and where they come from.

Mr Gething faces mounting pressure for accepting £200,000 from a company run by someone twice convicted for environmental offences.

The Welsh Labour leader has defended his integrity and rejected calls from opponents for an investigation.

Mr Jones told BBC Wales that a cap on donations was "clearly an issue".

The Conservatives and Plaid Cymru have tabled votes in the Senedd for Wednesday criticising the first minister.

A Plaid motion to be debated that day specifically calls for a cap on political donations that MSs can receive.

Cardiff-based Dauson Environmental Group made two donations of £100,000 to Mr Gething.

The business is run by David John Neal who was given a suspended prison sentence of three months in 2013 for illegally dumping waste. Four years later he was given another suspended sentence of 18 weeks for not removing it.

Gething and Jones
Mr Jones said a donations cap "will be looked at" but is not guaranteed [Getty Images]

Defeated leadership rival Jeremy Miles, now the economy secretary in Mr Gething’s government, has said he would not have accepted the money.

Soon after winning the leadership, Mr Gething announced Welsh Labour would hold a review into its rules, led by Carwyn Jones.

“I have been asked to look at future leadership contests, things like are they too long, how should we deal with donations – should there be a cap, should there be a process for dealing with them in a way that hasn’t been done in the past, that’s what this is about” Mr Jones said.

“It is not about looking at what’s happened in the past or what any individual has done in the past.

"That’s not what the remit of this committee will be.”

'Gruelling' contests

Mr Jones described the length of time that Welsh Labour leadership contests take as “gruelling” and said they probably did not need to be so long.

Asked if donations could be capped in future, he said: “Clearly we will look at it, but it’s not as easy as that in terms of how these things can be taken forward.

“It is clearly an issue, but we’ll be listening to views in the party to understand how we can improve that process in terms of who should donate, in terms of whether there should full examination of donations, should there be a limit on donations with individuals?”

Labour’s political opponents described Mr Jones’s appointment to lead the review as the party marking its own homework.

But the former first minister said they “misunderstood” what the review was set up to do.

“It is not designed for example to be a kind of separate ministerial code investigation,” he said.

“It is an internal process to look at how the party can better operate internally in any leadership contest that we have in years to come.”

Welsh Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies said: "How Labour runs its leadership elections is a matter for them, but Vaughan Gething’s donations have implications beyond just the Labour Party.

Calling for an independent investigation, he added: “Gething’s donations have caused the Welsh Government to stall while our public services suffer as a result of inertia in Cathays Park."