Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Plaid Cymru calls for Gething statement on sacking of junior minister after Senedd return

09 Jul 2024 4 minute read
First Minister Vaughan Gething – Inset Hannah Blythyn MS

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has written to the First Minister requesting an urgent statement in response to axed minister Hannah Blythyn’s personal statement delivered to MSs today (9 July).

The former Social Partnership Minister, was sacked in May by Vaughan Gething, who accused her of leaking information to the press.

Ms Blythyn, whose speech came following several weeks on sick leave, told MSs that she was not shown any evidence before being sacked and was not advised that there were allegations she had broken the ministerial code.

She has maintained her innocence and told members on her return to the Senedd how the last few weeks have affected her mental health.

Due process

In his letter to the First Minister, Mr ap Iorwerth wrote: “You are on the record as stating that it is your belief that the Member in question was responsible for leaking material to the press, a claim which Ms Blythyn denied at the time, and which was refuted again today.

“I have previously raised with you my concerns that no proper process was conducted prior to the Minister’s removal from office and having heard the Member’s representations today, I remain unsatisfied that due process was undertaken.

“Your authority as First Minister has been significantly undermined by your acceptance of a £200,000 donation and your subsequent disregard of the result of a Senedd vote of confidence.

“We again have two conflicting accounts pertaining to the allegation of the unauthorised release of information which casts a further cloud on your ability to govern without distraction.

“In the interests of transparency and out of courtesy to the Senedd, I ask you to publish all the evidence which supported your decision to dismiss the Deputy Minister and make an urgent statement in the Senedd tomorrow setting out your response to the concerns raised in today’s personal statement by the Member for Delyn.”

Scandal

Mr Gething, who won the Welsh Labour leader election in March, faced a no-confidence motion on June 5 less than three months into his scandal ridden tenure.

Both Ms Blythyn and former Deputy Minister Lee Waters failed to take part in the confidence vote because they were off sick.

In her personal statement, Ms Blythyn said: “I share this now not in search of sympathy – I don’t want people’s sympathy – but because my recent experience has brought home to me that whilst we talk the talk on mental health, there is still more to do to improve our understanding.”

The former minister went on to say that kinder politics calls for “kinder people” adding that although she isn’t “broken”, she now knows that she is “breakable”.

She said: “Our own conduct and character is key to the public having trust in those who serve them and believe that politics can be a force for good.”

Ms Blythyn said it had been a “privilege” to serve in her country’s Government – particularly under the leadership of Mark Drakeford.

Speaking about struggles with her sexuality, she said herself as a younger woman would never have believed that she would go on to spearhead a plan to make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe.

Applause.

The sacked minister received a round of applause from politicians on opposition benches after her personal statement – while most of the Labour Senedd group remained quiet.

The First Minister sacked Ms Blythyn after she was accused of handing screen grabs to Nation.Cymru that revealed he had deleted messages in a ministerial group chat during the height of the pandemic.

Ms Blythyn has always denied being the source of the leak telling Labour politicians in the Chamber that she can look all her colleagues “in the eye” and say that she had “never leaked or briefed the media” about any of them.

Nation.Cymru has never revealed the source of the Covid messages.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
4 days ago

This situation should never have been allowed to happen. Nobody should be removed from their job in this fashion and definitely not in a party that was created to protect workers and ESPECIALLY when managed by a solicitor who has worked for a union. It would be quite interesting to find out what Welsh Labour consider to be the qualities for a good leader. I appreciate that I’m old fashioned and believe these should include Integrity, empathy, the ability to motivate, but obviously I’m really out of touch. Hopefully when they all go for their day out on the 11… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
4 days ago

At a time when the Labour Party across Britain is in the ascendency and enjoying a short term honeymoon period, the very patch, Cymru, which eliminated Tories and contributed hugely to this celebration is having to deal with a toxic problem it could fix at the stroke of a pen but it will take the silent Labour members sitting behind their soiled First Minister to call time on him and they must get on with it before the recess.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 days ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

It’s looking increasingly likely that it’s the electorate who will get to call time on Gething’s leadership and the party too, if it continues to take its voters for granted.

John Ellis
John Ellis
4 days ago

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has written to the First Minister requesting an urgent statement in response to axed minister Hannah Blythyn’s personal statement delivered to MSs today.’

Quite right. It’s the very least that Mr Gething can, fully and frankly, do in response, and it’s what he should absolutely do.

Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
4 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

I agree with you but I wonder if expecting our First Minister to behave like a decent human being is a step too far?

John Ellis
John Ellis
4 days ago
Reply to  Old Curmudgeon

Certainly the signs thus far aren’t encouraging.

Adrian
Adrian
4 days ago

Gething’s a treacherous little liar and I really hope he get’s his comeuppance soon. However, Nation.Cymru is happy to publish critical articles about this scandal, but then proudly states that is has ‘has never revealed the source of the Covid messages’: well if you’re so incensed about it, then grow a pair and reveal your source!

CapM
CapM
4 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

You don’t understand how journalism works.

Adrian
Adrian
4 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Yes – I do.

Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
4 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

If news reporters revealed their sources then I doubt if many people will step forward and so information will not get into the public domain. I’m not sure that will improve things.

Adrian
Adrian
4 days ago
Reply to  Old Curmudgeon

So they can confirm that it wasn’t Blythyn. I’m merely pointing out the hypocrisy of moaning about an issue that it’s in their power to clear up. If they don’t want to reveal their source then just shut up about the whole thing.

Old Curmudgeon
Old Curmudgeon
4 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

I see what you mean. They could confirm that it wasn’t MS Blythyn without naming their source.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 days ago
Reply to  Old Curmudgeon

Perhaps the person would be more readily identifiable to the members concerned if Nation came out and said that it wasn’t Blythyn. They can’t do that.

Point is, it’s Gething who has said that he has the evidence to show that it was Hannah Blythyn. If so, he needs to share that evidence.

Last edited 2 days ago by SundanceKid
SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

This “scandal” as you call it is in the public interest. If the press cannot guarantee annonymity, then they cannot report on issues like this.

If Gething had not deleted Covid-era text messages or had shown the evidence on which he based his decision to sack Blythyn, then he wouldn’t be in this mess.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
2 days ago
Reply to  Adrian

Why on earth would they do that??

J Jones
J Jones
4 days ago

WalesOnline have received threats regarding their coverage of the Gething scandal, so understand why Nation.Cymru needs to protect their source, especially considering the treatment of Hannah Blythyn.

WalesOnline have also not allowed comments on articles this week, hopefully nothing to do with the threats or the new Westminster government.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.