In 2013 a company called Atlantic Recycling, based in Cardiff, was prosecuted for illegally dumping waste on the Gwent Levels. In 2017 it was prosecuted again for failing to clean it up. Atlantic Recycling is owned by David Neal, who, in 2013, was fined £10,000 and given a 3 months suspended sentence. In 2017 he was given an 18-week suspended sentence and fines and costs totalling £230,000. David Neal is a convicted criminal.

In 2022 another company owned by David Neal, Dawson Environmental Group (DEG) received a £200,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales which is wholly owned by the Welsh Government and which, at that time, was under the purview of Minister for the Economy, Vaughan Gething.

In 2024 it emerged that DEG donated £200,000 to the election campaign of Vaughan Gething. It then became public that in 2016 Vaughan Gething put pressure on Natural Resources Wales to remove the suspension notice placed on Atlantic Recycling for its breaches of environmental regulations.

DEG also owns Resources Management Limited, which operates a site in Withyhedge in Pembrokeshire, which has blighted the area with obnoxious smelling waste.

At the same time as the £200k donation was made, DEG, owned by the convicted criminal David Neal, was submitting an application to build a solar farm, which would require ministerial approval. 

Mr Gething repeatedly says he has done nothing wrong, neither has he broken any rules. This is true. Technically. But it falls in the category of explanations alongside Michelle Mone’s declaration that lying is not against the law. Mr Gething is not lying, he has declared all his donations but, as a seasoned politician, he should be aware that it is not just what you do, or whether you are within the rules, it is how it looks to the public. And, like the stench in Withyhedge, this one reeks of corruption. 

In the month or so since he became First Minister Vaughan Gething has refused to answer questions over his relationship to Dawson Environmental Group. At the same time he has refused to offer any assistance to the National Museum of Wales which is threatened with closure. Nor to offer anything but future intervention as workers in Port Talbot face redundancy.

And, facing personal scrutiny, Gething has allowed a flagship green policy – the 20 mph speed limit – to be undermined by a concerted campaign by a small but vociferous minority. That policy, which was part of Labour’s manifesto and was backed by scientific evidence, is now being shelved because Welsh Labour wants to regain their popularity.

Like his counterpart in Westminster, there seems no pledge or commitment which Gething is not prepared to abandon to placate a right-wing media. He can spend an inordinate amount of time lobbying on behalf of a company which seemingly has no regard for the environment, but raises not a finger to save jobs in Wales or to defend a policy that was brought in to protect the environment and to make the streets safer.

Gething is very much the kind of politician who is popular within the current iteration of the Labour Party. This is a group of politicians without principles, without integrity and without any concern but lining their own pockets and egos. And, we have to ask, how exactly are they an improvement on the corrupt Tories?

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