A former Welsh Labour MP has called on Labour Senedd Members to block Vaughan Gething from becoming First Minister.

Gwynoro Jones, who held the Carmarthen seat for Labour in the 1970s, said that there was “big problem now” because “overwhelmingly Labour MSs wanted Jeremy to win”. He said there has been a “big stitch up from the affiliated big six unions not based in Wales”.

Last Saturday Mr Gething beat rival Jeremy Miles to be the next Welsh Labour leader. His campaign proved controversial after he received a huge £200,000 donation from man whose companies have been convicted of environmental offences. On the same day that he received the donation, one of the donor's companies submitted an application to build a large solar farm in Cardiff that would require Welsh Government approval.

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There has been widespread discontent within parts of Welsh Labour about the donation. The same MSs who back Jeremy Miles will now be required on Wednesday to vote to confirm Vaughan Gething as First Minister in the Senedd. Mr Gething won in vote from both the party members, and the union affiliates:

  • Welsh Labour members: Vaughan Gething 50.7%, Jeremy Miles 49.3%

  • Affiliates: Vaughan Gething 52.7% and Jeremy Miles 47.3%

Former Carmarthen Labour MP Gwynoro Jones
Former Carmarthen Labour MP Gwynoro Jones

Mr Jones said: “Vaughan Gething becoming Wales’ First Minister can be stopped by a Senedd vote [by] a united opposition and just even a couple or more of Labour Senedd members abstaining.

“Letting this obvious stitch up stand will be to the detriment of not only Welsh Labour but also other parties in the Senedd. Tories and Plaid Cymru must lay aside the obvious electoral advantage coming their way with Gething as First Minister - democracy [and the] Senedd’s reputation are at stake.

“The union interference into Labour politics in Wales has been there all my life. This time it has hit a crisis. Its going fester, a bit like the Alun Michael and Rhodri Morgan situation.

Speaking to WalesOnline Mr Jones, who left Labour to help establish the SDP, said: “This is a real decision. If Mr Gething’s vote fails they would have to nominate somebody else. The Labour group could put forward someone else, they could nominate Jeremy Miles.

“I don’t think they will. Its a very loyal party. At the end of the day they may think it's too much trouble. The party hardly ever rocks the boat.”

Regarding the other parties he said that he thinks the Tories in the Senedd “will play fast and loose” because “it's to their advantage to have Vaughan Gething”. He added: “Whether they are valid or not there are skeletons in his cupboard, and those skeletons are not going to go away.”

He also suggested that Plaid should oppose Mr Gething and end the cooperation agreement. He said: “There is no doubt in my mind that the Plaid should go along with the cooperation agreement. If they are serious about democracy, they can’t let it carry on. It is a test of Plaid Cymru as much as Welsh labour.”