New Leader, Old Problems for Welsh Labour

As expected, Wales’ decline was further cemented this afternoon with the election of self-proclaimed Corbyn-groupie, Mark Drakeford, as new Welsh Labour leader. As the result shows, the Momentum machine mercilessly crushed his also-ran opponents.

However, there’ll be no ‘honeymoon’ period for Comrade Drakeford when he’s crowned Wales’ First Minister next week. The increasingly murky conspiracy surrounding the suicide of Labour Minister Carl Sargeant a year ago, still completely dominates Welsh politics.

Sargeant was sacked as Minister following supposed “allegations” of inappropriate behaviour towards women – allegations he denied right up to his death.

Drakeford’s predecessor, the ineffectual Carwyn Jones, remains mired and under pressure for sacking Sargeant without giving him any details of the complaints or letting him offer his side of the story.

As reported previously by Guido, Labour’s problem in Wales is rooted in the very dodgy relationship between the party and Cardiff lobbying firm, Deryn Consulting.

With the Inquest into Carl Sargeant’s death under way, more details are emerging about the web of intrigue that places Deryn at the heart of the conspiracy that was ‘out to get’ Sargeant:

The main conspirators are:

  • Cathy Owens: Head of Deryn who took to the BBC in the days before Sargeant’s death to allege sexual harassment from an unnamed politician. Owens pointedly did not rule out Sargeant from her unsupported allegations as part of a concerted campaign to try and humiliate and discredit him.
  • Jo Kiernan: Deryn employee and named at last week’s Inquest as co-ordinating a bullying campaign against Sargeant when she worked as Carwyn Jones’ chief SpAd.

  • Helen Antoniazzi: Works for a charity called Chwarae Teg – a prominent Deryn client. A former senior Plaid Cymru staffer and believed to be one of the ‘complainants’.
  • Dave Hagendyk: Head of the Learning and Work Institute in Wales – another prominent Deryn client. Former Welsh Labour General Secretary and at the Inquest named as the co-ordinator of complaints against Sargeant.

The big question facing new First Minister Drakeford will be – will he allow his first 100 days as leader to be bogged down in the same conspiracy that toppled Carwyn Jones or will he be savvy enough to cut the conspirators adrift..?

mdi-timer 6 December 2018 @ 16:34 6 Dec 2018 @ 16:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Mark Drakeford New First Minister of Wales

Mark Drakeford is set to become the next First Minister of Wales after winning the Welsh Labour Leadership Election. Drakeford beat Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan in the race to replace the outgoing Carwyn Jones, securing 53.9% of the vote after second preferences were included. Llongyfarchiadau…

Wales may be about to get a first-hand taste of Corbynomics – 64-year-old Drakeford is firmly on the left of the Party – he was the only sitting Cabinet member in any part of the UK to back Jeremy Corbyn for Labour leader in 2015 and had Momentum’s support for his own leadership election. Will Wales become the Venezuela of the UK under his stewardship?

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Did Wales’s First Minister Lie Under Oath?

Wales’ First Minister and his senior Special Adviser have been summoned back to the dock after giving “highly unsatisfactory” answers earlier this week at the Inquest of former Welsh government Minister, Carl Sargeant, who was found hanged at his home last November.

Earlier this week, First Minister Carwyn Jones, and his senior SpAd Matt Greenough, took to the stand at the Inquest to try and explain away their roles in the increasingly murky circumstances surrounding Sargeant’s sacking from the Welsh Cabinet a year ago.

Sargeant was removed form his post following supposed “allegations” of inappropriate time behaviour towards women – details and identities of whom were kept from him – allegations which he denied right up to his death.

Jones and Greenough’s original testimony was given under oath, something they will be reminded of when the Inquest reconvenes in the New Year…

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Carwyn Currently in US Seeking Free Trade Deal

During his speech today Jeremy Corbyn proposed a customs union which would give Britain only “a say” in future trade deals. In the Q&A afterwards Jezza implied he would accept the right only to “consult” on EU trade deals, with no vote. Someone should probably tell Carwyn Jones, who is currently on a week-long trip to America where he says he “will press the case for developing a free trade agreement between our countries”. Something Jezza’s plan would not allow…

mdi-timer 26 February 2018 @ 12:39 26 Feb 2018 @ 12:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Welsh Labour Backed Amazon Plant Brings in Hungarian Workers

An Amazon distribution center given financial backing by the Welsh Labour government is again the subject of controversy after it emerged foreign workers are being brought in en masse to cover Christmas shifts. A concerned constituent wrote to Welsh UKIP leader Neil Hamilton to say they had been asked if their spare room could be used to accommodate Hungarian workers. The resident claimed they were contacted by a firm called Central European Contracts and Recruitment Services Ltd, who they suggested planned to accommodate workers ‘hot-bunking’ between shifts at the Amazon plant.

Carwyn Jones’ Welsh Government provided grants to Amazon to develop the facility. The Welsh authorities refused to confirm the amount given. But sources put the funding at a cool £8.8 million…

The Amazon warehouse was the subject of a 2013 Panorama investigation which suggested working conditions there could cause “mental and physical illness”. An Amazon spokesman said at the time the company “complies with all relevant legal requirements”. A UKIP spokesman said:

“How can Labour’s Welsh Government, which claims to champion the working class, support a facility that employs workers from Central and Eastern Europe and treats them in such an appalling manner? UKIP will continue to investigate and hold the Welsh Government to account on this.”

Awkward for Carwyn…

mdi-timer 23 November 2017 @ 15:01 23 Nov 2017 @ 15:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Carwyn’s “Clique” Played “Mind Games” Against Carl Sargeant

Pressure continues to build on Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones as a slew of fresh allegations about the culture in his private office come to light. Carwyn’s former SpAd Steve Jones, who ran the First Minister’s media operation, accuses his “clique” of playing “mind games” against Carl Sargeant for years:

“The behaviour of some at the top of the Welsh Government was like nothing I’d ever seen before. It was pure poison. Ministers were undermined by senior advisers playing power games and seeking to exert unreasonable control over Government and the First Minister himself…

“Dealing with our Plaid Cymru partners in Government at that time, was considerably more straight forward than dealing with the clique surrounding Carwyn. The mind games being employed against Ministers – such as Carl – were at times an utter distraction from the serious business of governing Wales…

“It was clear that all this was getting Carl down. I told Carwyn that Carl was becoming increasingly unhappy. I suggested to him on more  than one occasion that he should simply go for a pint with Carl one night – to talk about things and get back to the kind of relationship they enjoyed before and during Carwyn’s leadership campaign. I don’t know if they ever shared that pint. In any case, it became increasingly obvious that Carwyn was either unwilling or unable to address the culture that existed within his office. He allowed it to develop, fester and grow.”

Carwyn’s current SpAds were seen out celebrating on the night of Carl’s sacking. Questions are now being asked in Welsh political circles about the role played by a number of Carwyn’s former SpAds in the Carl Sargeant case…

mdi-timer 13 November 2017 @ 14:15 13 Nov 2017 @ 14:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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