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Hannah Blythyn was not our source

11 Jul 2024 4 minute read
L: Hannah Blythyn MS – R: First Minister Vaughan Gething – Image: Senedd Cymru

NationCymru is confirming that Labour MS Hannah Blythyn was not the source of our story that revealed Vaughan Gething told ministerial colleagues he was deleting messages written during the Covid-19 crisis because they were subject to disclosure under freedom of information.

The news outlet’s chief executive Mark Mansfield said: “Protecting sources is very important for all journalists and we take that responsibility extremely seriously. It is important that whistleblowers can rest assured that their identity will not be disclosed by any news outlet to whom they reveal important matters of public interest. As a rule it follows that we will not enter into public debate about who may have been the source of stories we have published.

“Events of this week have, however, prompted us to consider carefully the implications of Hannah Blythyn’s personal statement to the Senedd on Tuesday and Vaughan Gething’s response to it on Wednesday.

Unprecedented 

He added:“We remain totally committed to protecting our sources. However, in this unprecedented situation, the board of NationCymru does not consider we can stand by and see Ms Blythyn’s reputation unjustly besmirched by the First Minister.

“No one who witnessed Ms Blythyn making her statement in the Senedd could fail to be aware of the immense impact her dismissal as a minister has had on her wellbeing. Her distress has undoubtedly been compounded by the fact that no proper investigation took place before she was dismissed. Instead the First Minister decided to by-pass due process and find her summarily guilty of leaking information to NationCymru.

“Given the strong public interest and importance of this story and out of concern for Hannah Blythyn’s wellbeing, we have decided that the right thing to do is to state publicly that she was not the source of our story and that at no stage before or since publication of it have we had any contact with her about it.

“We can state unequivocally that Mr Gething is not telling the truth when he suggests that he has incontrovertible evidence that Ms Blythyn was our source.

“We also think it important to remind everyone that the story we published revealed that Mr Gething, when Health Minister, told ministerial colleagues that he was deleting iMessages from a group chat because they “could be captured in an FOI”. We believe he has been involved in an attempt to divert attention from the fact that these were Welsh Government iMessages by suggesting that they related to a discussion that had taken place in the Labour Senedd group.

“If the messages had related to a party meeting of any kind they would not have been susceptible to capture by FOI. As Mr Gething must have known, they could be captured by FoI only because they were ‘Welsh Government’ iMessages.

“Similarly, there has been an attempt to suggest that the messages on the screenshot that was passed to us related to no more than banter relating to Mike Hedges, a non-ministerial member of the Senedd Labour group.

“In fact, Mr Gething’s own words in the ‘leaked’ messages confirm that the discussion related to more than that. He stated: ‘Deleting the messages in this group. They can be captured in an FOI and I think we are all in the right place on the choice being made’. As we have reported previously, the “choice being made” was the decision to base GCSE and A-level results on teachers’ assessments because students had been unable to sit exams because of Covid restrictions. There had been uproar about an earlier decision to base results on an algorithm.

“The fact that the discussion related to a ministerial decision about the handling of Covid meant that the iMessages constituted Welsh Government business. Ministers were already under an obligation to preserve such messages because they were subject to FOI disclosure. Subsequently, they should have been disclosed to the UK Covid Inquiry.

“Whoever passed us the screenshot was performing a public service. The messages should have been in the public domain anyway.

“Mr Gething’s admission that he was deleting messages conflicts with what he in due course told the Inquiry, which was that messages had been deleted from his mobile phone not by him but when it was being ‘refitted’ by the Senedd’s IT department.

“Hannah Blythyn has behaved with integrity. Vaughan Gething has not.”


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John
John
6 days ago

Rhaid i’r celwyddgi fynd!

Chris
Chris
6 days ago
Reply to  John

Sadly he won’t go though, the man clearly has no shame or sense of honour or duty.

Maesglas
Maesglas
6 days ago

Welsh Labour need to look at the shame and embarrassment inflicted on our country by letting this man continue as First Minister.

L. Edwards
L. Edwards
6 days ago
Reply to  Maesglas

And then do something about it immediately

Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
6 days ago

Well done N.C. Now let’s see how much integrity our Honourable First Minister has.

Chris
Chris
6 days ago
Reply to  Old Curmudgeon

I think we all know the answer to that one, sadly.

John Ellis
John Ellis
6 days ago

Well, that should definitively settle the issue.

I think it should ‘settle’ – or, rather, unsettle! – him too. But will it?

Andrew RT
Andrew RT
6 days ago

He needs to resign. What an absolute shambles he has been.

Adrian Bamford
Adrian Bamford
6 days ago

Excellent and principled move by Nation.Cymru.

John Davies
John Davies
6 days ago

If he cannot produce clear evidence to support his allegation he has to resign.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
6 days ago

The bloke’s gotta go. Totally incompetent and egotistical.

Garry Jones
Garry Jones
6 days ago

I too endorse the Nation.Cymru response here. 
It’s been suggested by others, that Hannah Blythyn consider crossing the Siambr. Such event would be a service to representative democracy in Cymru in my view, and safer for Hannah too perhaps. 

Welshman28
Welshman28
6 days ago

I sincerely hope that Ms Blythyn gets an outright apology not just from Arrogant Vaughan Gething but also his group of lapdogs the cabinet all of them who all agreed with him . They all bypassed any form of dignity just licking his feet. They ALL must resign from their posts . ALL OF THEM .

Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
6 days ago
Reply to  Welshman28

I note an article on BBC news website. Which mentions the possibility of a Senedd election. How much longer can the Labour Party allow this fiasco to continue. I would like to be a fly on the wall at their little get together that they’re holding to develop unity.

Evs
Evs
6 days ago

So Gething is lying to the Senedd.

The 2026 Bill can’t come quick enough. Can see why the Labour Party wanted it blocked

Last edited 6 days ago by Evs
Howie
Howie
6 days ago

Hell brazen it out until Starmer makes his mind up for him.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
6 days ago
Reply to  Howie

It would be too much of an embarrassment for Starmer to back down now, having supported Gething thus far.

Billy James
Billy James
6 days ago

Why does he think he has the god given right to delete these whatsapp messages deliberately anyway…

The arrogance and contempt of this guy for the Welsh electorate is off the scale……

Howie
Howie
6 days ago

Gething close source on updated BBC article now saying he blamed phone not her, how laughable when you go back on his statements.

Duke Iron
Duke Iron
4 days ago
Reply to  Howie

If it originated from her phone without her knowledge that raises even bigger questions.

T3DSK1
T3DSK1
5 minutes ago
Reply to  Duke Iron

Phone hacking rears it’s ugly head perhaps ?

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
6 days ago

Gething became FM only because of a trade union rulebook which cast its block vote in opposition to most labour party members. If I were one of those Labour party members in Wales, I’d be wondering about the state of my party – This should be the trigger a new start for kinder, fair and democratic politics. If this concerns you then it is time to change your party membership or affiliation to PLAID CYMRU. Cymru Wales has always been a country of honesty and fairness and will always be for the future. Plaid Cymru will provide for Wales this… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
6 days ago

I said they should have given the job to Mabon, the riderless horse in the election…

Talking horse, stalking horse, cloths horse or hobby horse…Stable Carpet…

I’ve just been to funeral, grow up, life is too short…

Mabon is a straight geezer, not a solicitor politician…

Last edited 6 days ago by Mab Meirion
Nigel Bull
Nigel Bull
5 days ago

Have you forgotten the Nerys Evans report, you still have your own spring cleaning to finish off. Because Labour Senedd members have stood by as this terrible mess got worse and worse, it does not follow that Plaid have suddenly become a beacon of purity. There is stench that pervades the centre/left of Welsh politics further illustrated by the relationship of both parties with Deryn. It needs to be injected with the cleansing purity of new members in the Senedd. An election with a clear out of Labour Senedd Members forced through by Starmer would be a good start, as… Read more »

Ryan P
Ryan P
6 days ago

Mae hwn yn swnio fel athrod holadwy i fi! This sounds like actionable slander to me!

Steve George
Steve George
6 days ago
Reply to  Ryan P

Statements made in the Senedd by Members have privilege under the law of defamation. Not sure what exactly he’s said out side the Senedd.

Daf
Daf
6 days ago

Fair play Nation Cymru. I think when Gething has resigned, scrutiny has to fall on whoever is giving him such bad advice. From the decision to accept that whiffy donation to this utterly hamfisted debacle – he’s clearly not got a single sensible advisor on his team.

Billy James
Billy James
6 days ago
Reply to  Daf

So true, have they just parachuted Labour spivs from Loondon to advise him & are living in a cave while in Wales..

Daf
Daf
6 days ago
Reply to  Billy James

Maybe – although Stewart Owadally who led Gething’s leadership campaign is from Cardiff, and despite okaying the whiffy donation, was promoted within Welsh Labour afterwards. David Costa, former deputy general secretary of Welsh Labour, was Gething’s election agent. I don’t know what he’s doing now. My hunch is that UK Labour can see Gething’s on his way out and won’t be wasting time on him.

Jones
Jones
5 days ago
Reply to  Billy James

As if Welsh advisers are not also culpable of cronyism and corruption . Sadly we know they are. What happened to Carl Sarjent?

hdavies15
hdavies15
6 days ago

The man is a Grade A dud. If the Welsh electorate was sufficiently robust and took a keen interest in events I would suggest that he should be left in post and face the music in 2026. However I worry that the same old endemic disinterest will prevail with yet another low turn out. Combine that with the closed list fix and we could end up with 30 or more duds cut from the same cloth.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
6 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Plaid second to Labour by 4 points. By 2026, I would expect them to close that gap further or overtake them. It’s the kickstart Welsh politics needs. We can’t continue to stumble from election to election appointing Labour by default, without something giving. The likes of Reform are on the rise and it’s not hard to see why when people feel they have no hope and are vulnerable to the messaging that they give. We need a strong alternative to Labour.

Last edited 6 days ago by SundanceKid
Robert Williams
Robert Williams
5 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Gloomy, but all too credible!

Wynne
Wynne
6 days ago

Well done Nation Cymru. I have made an annual donation as a result of your article today.

Howie
Howie
6 days ago

TATA intervention didn’t work out either, TATA just started asking for voluntary redundancy candidates following Transition board meeting today.
He kept his eye off the ball there in his rear guard actions

Brian Coman
Brian Coman
6 days ago

Vaughan Gething appears not to have any scruples or an iota of contrition or humility when it comes to any resolvement in this crisis of his own making. He assumes his innocence overrides all that stands before him.
It is noticeable that his silent supporters are literally keeping their heads down below the parapet of
controversy. But this simply won’t vanish in a puff of smoke.

Billy James
Billy James
6 days ago

Have Welsh Labour learnt nothing from 2018 & has some similarity to the treatment of the late Carl Sargeant where he was  was deprived of natural justice and was not informed of any of the detail of the allegations against him, despite requests and warnings regarding his mental welfare….
And we then have a First minister with a prejudiced Labour’s inquiry into it…

Stay strong Hannah the overwhelming majority of decent fair minded Welsh people are with you…
 

Garry Jones
Garry Jones
6 days ago
Reply to  Billy James

You make an interesting and pertinent point, Billy. I hadn’t thought of the correlation with a particular event in 2018, until you made it here.
I was reminded soon after that time of Maya Angelou: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ 
I’m thinking about that again now. Not all Senedd members have the constitution of a bulldozer, and nor should they have.

Nubs
Nubs
6 days ago

If Vaughan Gething has incontrovertible evidence that Hannah Blythyn was source of the leak, then he should publish it.

Billy James
Billy James
5 days ago
Reply to  Nubs

He obviously has not or he would have published it by now…

John Ellis
John Ellis
5 days ago

On reflection in the context of this issue, I think that we should all applaud the decision of the movers and shakers at Nation.Cymru to have issued the statement that they’ve opted to make. Usually, it’s quite understandable – indeed, even right and proper – for news outlets who glean information from a ‘whistle-blower’ to keep utterly silent when the inevitable hullaballoo happens as a consequence of their revelation/allegation – simply because any response from them might run the risk, however inadvertently, of identifying the person who has ‘blown the whistle’. But in this instance Hannah Blythyn has been ‘fingered’… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by John Ellis
Richard Perkins
Richard Perkins
5 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Well done Nation Cymru. A free press is a crucial bastion of our liberties. I am delighted to continue my subscription.

Duke Iron
Duke Iron
4 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

It’s raised more questions. If it originated from her phone, how did it reach the media?

John Ellis
John Ellis
4 days ago
Reply to  Duke Iron

Indeed it has raised more questions, and thus far we’ve no clue. I wonder whether we’ll ever have?

Maybe we will, just perhaps and in time; because I don’t believe that this saga’s quite run its course just yet.

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