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Eluned Morgan challenged to say what she knows about Gething’s deleted messages

20 May 2024 5 minute read
Eluned Morgan

Martin Shipton

Health Secretary Eluned Morgan has been challenged to say what she knows about the Welsh Government messages deleted by First Minister Vaughan Gething during the Covid crisis.

The challenge came after she said she supported Mr Gething’s decision to sack Social Enterprise Minister Hannah Blythyn for allegedly leaking a screenshot of messages to NationCymru.

Mr Gething, who was himself the Health Minister when the messages were deleted in August 2020, justified deleting them by telling ministerial colleagues on a group iMessage chat that they could otherwise be made public through a freedom of information request.


Last week Mr Gething sacked Ms Blythyn, accusing her of leaking a screenshot of what is likely to have been part of the chat to NationCymru. The screenshot showed that he wrote: “I’m deleting the messages in this group. They can be captured in an FOI [Freedom of Information request] and I think we are all in the right place on the choice being made.”

The messages would only be disclosable under FOI legislation if they related to Welsh Government business. All four governments in the UK were told to pass material relating to their handling of the pandemic to the UK Covid Inquiry. We have reported how the deleted messages alluded to a decision taken to change the way GCSE and A-level students would be graded, given that exams could not be held because of Covid. Instead of basing grades on an algorithm, students were assessed by their teachers.


During an interview on BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, Baroness Morgan was asked whether she agreed with the sacking of Ms Blythyn. She responded: “I’m not going to go into the details of that. But obviously there has to be a degree of trust between members of the cabinet, members of the government and there’s evidence to suggest there was …”

Presenter James Williams interjected, asking, “What is that evidence?”, to which Baroness Morgan replied, “Well I’m not going to go into that, the detail of that, but …”

Williams asked: “Have you asked to see that evidence? Are you happy with the explanation you’ve received from the First Minister? … Because [Ms Blythyn] denies it, doesn’t she? She said she did not, never has leaked. Not her. ‘Integrity is all in politics,’ Hannah Blythyn said, ‘and I retain mine’. So was the First Minister right when he says that she did leak and she says that she didn’t?”

Baroness Morgan said: “My understanding is that the leak can definitely be traced to her phone. I think there’s enough evidence to support that.”


Responding to Baroness Morgan’s comments, a Welsh Labour insider said: “The rank hypocrisy of Eluned Morgan sitting in judgement on Hannah Blythyn without having seen any actual evidence is staggering. In her rush to curry favour with the First Minister she forgets natural justice and the fact that this information should have always been in the public domain.

“It is deeply troubling that a senior minister does not question what she has been told and has simply taken on trust the words of the First Minister who is happy to admit he posted about deleting data to stop being FOI’d.

“Thankfully for Morgan her Labour colleagues weren’t so quick to sell her down the river when she was banned from driving for speeding in 20mph zones. The irony will be lost on nobody who watches this government.

“Eluned Morgan now needs to answer the question – did she share the contents of this group with the inquiry or delete as Vaughan Gething suggested? My guess is she won’t be as quick to go on the radio and answer that question.”


Anna-Louise Marsh-Rees of the campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru said: “Surely he has to explain why he sacked someone who denies the allegations. Could this be considered sexist?

“What does Eluned Morgan mean when she said the leak had been traced back to Hannah Blythyn’s phone? If only we could trace stuff back to Vaughan Gething’s phone. He is the one who deleted messages and he is the one who should be sacked.”

NationCymru sent some questions to Baroness Morgan via the Welsh Government:

Does she believe that Vaughan Gething was right to delete messages that would have been subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act?

Does she accept that for such messages to be disclosable under FOI they must relate to Welsh Government business?

Was she a recipient of messages in the relevant ministerial group chat?

If so, did she follow Vaughan Gething’s lead and delete the messages?

If so, how does she justify deleting the messages?”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We have nothing to add.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
13 days ago

Dear, dear…It is time she went…

What has M. Drakeford to say about the matter, he was in charge…

Barbara H.
Barbara H.
13 days ago

There is more to think of WhatApps in the Covid Inquiry!

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
13 days ago

It stinks

13 days ago
Reply to  Neil Anderson

Yes to high heaven

13 days ago

If she does know anything it is her duty to reveal the details to the people she serves……. us. No serving politician should hide secrets. These ministers would do well to remember who pays their wages.

Last edited 13 days ago by Frank
13 days ago

“My understanding is that…”
That’s a well used political weasel word.
Maybe in this case it’s shorthand for –
Look this is a question for Gething not me but he’s hiding. I don’t want to know either way I’ve just been given a line to recite, I’m not risking my future prospects by sticking my neck out for anyone until I see which way the wind’s blowing.

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