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Gething remains defiant as he hits the general election campaign trail

08 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Labour candidate Catherine Fookes with shadow pensions minister Liz Kendall and first minister Vaughan Gething at Chepstow Books and Gifts

Twm Owen, local democracy reporter

A defiant Vaughan Gething has hit the general election campaign trail in Chepstow and insisted he won’t be resigning after losing a confidence vote.

The First Minister and Welsh Labour leader joined shadow cabinet member Liz Kendall for a campaign visit to the Conservative held Monmouthshire constituency the party is targeting hard in the run up to the July 4 poll.

They had wanted to talk about support for small and medium-sized businesses but faced repeated questions over Mr Gething’s future following the lost confidence vote in the Senedd on Wednesday where the first minister was seen in tears at times.

Political opportunism 

Mr Gething dismissed the vote, which passed with two of Labour’s 30 members absent, as “naked political opportunism” but said it presented a difficulty due to opposition parties refusing to ‘pair’ members, who wouldn’t have voted to maintain the balance between parties in the 60 member Senedd.

Ms Kendall repeated to several media outlets that the vote was a “Conservative gimmick aided and abetted by Plaid”.

It was held following concern Mr Gething had accepted donations totalling £200,000 from a firm whose owner has criminal convictions related to polluting the Gwent Levels, his dismissal of Welsh minister Hannah Blythyn and questions over deleted phone messages from the Covid period.

While being interviewed, on St Mary Street, by BBC Wales Mr Gething replied “no” when asked if he would resign while an older man, walking by, shouted “You need to resign mate” towards the first minister.

However Mr Gething was also asked to pose for a photograph with a group of children and young teenagers and was embraced by a passer by and also asked for a photograph with a shopkeeper other than two handpicked businesses he and the shadow pensions secretary visited.

Donations row

Mr Gething was elected by Labour members in March, but his tenure has been overshadowed by the donations row that broke in January and has contained several twists.

Ms Blythyn and another former minister, Lee Waters, who has previously publicly criticised the acceptance of the donation, were absent from Wednesday’s crunch vote, due to illness.

Mr Gething denied he was refusing to accept the agreed majority view of the Senedd and told the Local Democracy Reporting Service there are “established agreements on when people are unwell that you even up the balance.”

When it was put to Mr Gething the absent pair could have voted remotely he replied: “When the leader of the Welsh Conservatives was absent for three months there was an expectation that he would vote from home. For three months we provided a ‘pair’, so we removed one of our votes to make sure it didn’t upset the democratic balance, that’s an established way of working in our parliament and virtually every other parliament in the western world.

“That isn’t what happened last week. That’s about naked political opportunism. Now it’s difficult because the parliament has voted. I’ve got to make a choice, does this mean that Wales is going to be ambushed in the future, if this happens? Will ill health mean there’s a difference in the future, what does that mean for our group?

He said he was interested in “the future which we could, and should, have. The future I was elected to lead just a few weeks ago”.


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Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
16 days ago

He just chooses not to get it and for as long as it goes on and probably longer he is sapping away the already strained credibility of the Senedd.

Llyn
Llyn
16 days ago

What do you mean by the “already strained credibility of the Senedd”?

HarrisR
HarrisR
16 days ago

Vaughan Gething, the Captain of the Wales Titanic refuses to resign and, blaming an “opportunist iceberg”, insists “it’s just scratch on our paintwork, we will sail serenely on and be in New York City by last orders with a complimentary cup of Bovril”. Meanwhile Labour lifeboats are rapidly leaving the ship and a incapacitating sickness is laying low the junior officers. A company spokesperson said, “Captain Gething has our full confidence, well until the boat sinks obviously and then there’ll be a full NEC enquiry blaming the iceberg for racial hatred, antisemitism and continuity “Jeremy Corbyn-itis”. Liz Kendall meanwhile is… Read more »

Paul Symons
Paul Symons
16 days ago

I think it was NOT “naked political opportunism”. It’s about a man who is the political leader of our country being so out of touch with the reality that we have to live in. Lots of us have a responsibility to accept the consequences of our actions. Although what he did was not illegal it was a decision’s that he should have known was controversial and if he doesn’t understand the effect of his actions and carries on regardless then he is not leading the government but is dragging it behind him. Is this the quality of someone that we… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
16 days ago

It seems since Donald Trump was elected as US President and Boris Johnson Prime Minister those politicians who are corrupted by power and money feel emboldened that they can do almost anything without any consequence. In fact. They are arrogant, laugh in your face and brush off controversy using alternative facts, tears , and the party machine where in the past their career would be over and you would never see or hear from them again. Sadly it’s the sign of the times. Where we’ve gone forwards politically with devolution unfortunately gone backwards when it comes to morality.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

Is Lee Waters sulking, he has been awol since he got the push…?

Aled
Aled
15 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

He wasn’t pushed, he jumped.

Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
16 days ago

Vaughan Gething want a new start, presumably not in politics then!
The only way he can regain the trust is to return the £200,000

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

The Church of The Tory Senedd needs a look-at Mr Shipton…

Look at the books of multi-church money-go-round, it makes one’s head spin…

Right-wing Christians, ask Robin Millar to explain himself re. abortion in Northern Ireland…!

Gareth W
Gareth W
16 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Mab Meirion, are you feeling quite alright? I consider myself fairly well informed, but haven’t a clem what your comment is all about!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago
Reply to  Gareth W

Conservative Christian Fellowship:

Another kind of linked-in where large amounts of money behave like antiques in the antique trade…

Lobbyists of the subversive kind…aren’t they all…

Why vote
Why vote
16 days ago

VG must think in gibberish as well as using it to speak, poor man just cannot comprehend what is going on.

Welshman28
Welshman28
16 days ago

FM’s blatant arrogance is truly shocking , he’s tried every trick in the book to blame everyone else even main media. His employment record speaks for itself being a qualified failure. Surely members of the Labour Party who continue to support him and his arrogance surely know that the people of Wales will never let this matter drop till polite justice is achieved. Or are they happy having their strings pulled by Gething and his band of close mates

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