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Sacked minister maintains innocence on return to Senedd

09 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Former junior minister Hannah Blythyn MS

Emily Price

Sacked junior minister Hannah Blythyn has maintained her innocence of leaking information to the press and told Senedd politicians of how the last few weeks have affected her mental health.

Ms Blythyn was dismissed by the First Minister shortly after he appointed his Cabinet.

He accused her of handing screen grabs to Nation.Cymru that revealed he had deleted messages in a ministerial group chat during the height of the pandemic.

Mr Gething said it had been “an extraordinarily difficult decision to have to make.”

Speaking for the first time since she was removed from government in May, the former Social Partnership Minister thanked politicians for messages of support saying there were times she didn’t know if she could speak in the Chamber again.

Ms Blythyn’s speech on Tuesday (July 9) came following several weeks spent on sick leave.

A Labour source told Nation.Cymru that the “grave expressions” of her fellow party members admitted that the “game was up” for Mr Gething.

Messages 

The previously unseen messages published by Nation.Cymru appeared to show the then health minister’s intention to delete a discussion because it could be subject to freedom of information legislation.

Ms Blythyn has always denied being the source of the leak telling Labour politicians in the Chamber today 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.

Mr Gething claimed he followed guidance when axing the junior minister but it’s unclear what the guidance was because the Cabinet Handbook is regarded as a highly confidential document that cannot be viewed by the public.

In her speech this afternoon, Ms Blythyn claimed 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 raised “formal concerns” after the experience led to her suffering “acute anxiety and distress” with the thought of putting her camera on to vote literally taking her breath away.

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.

‘Broken’

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.

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.

A Labour source told us the embattled First Minister had timed the sacking to distract from rows over donations to his leadership campaign from a convicted polluter.

The source said: “this was a devastating moment to an already embittered and unpopular First Minister. Hannah Blythyn meanwhile was the picture of integrity and dignity and Labour values, as she called for a kinder politics and better politicians.

“The First Minster has repeatedly suggested that this was an objective process that he had no personal interest in. It turns out there was no investigation and no disclosure of evidence.

“This was a nakedly political sacking timed to distract from the announcement of donations for campaigns that day. The faces of Vaughan’s supporters in the front bench said it all, their grave expressions admitted the game was up.”


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John
John
5 days ago

Amser iddo fynd. Dyn llwgr.

Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
5 days ago

It shows that the corrupt Labour Party in Wales like the leopard does not change its spots…

Adrian
Adrian
5 days ago

Gething’s a proven bare-faced liar and this woman isn’t.

Alun Owen
Alun Owen
4 days ago

amser i Hannah groesi’r llawr, nid yw Vauhan Geithing sy’n llygredig cymaint dros amser, ac sy’n petruso rhag taenu ei weinidogion ei hun ddim yn haeddu ei chefnogaeth na’i chydweithwyr llafur sy’n sefyll o’r neilltu, Boed fel annibynnol neu Blaid Cymru, bydd yn well. oddi allan i’r rabble syncopaidd hwn sy’n galw ei hun yn Blaid Lafur Gymreig

Tim Hughes
Tim Hughes
4 days ago

Not long now

Alun
Alun
4 days ago

What better way to stick two fingers up to Gething than to head back to the Senedd with your head held high. There’s nothing to fear, he is an arrogant bully.

T3DSK1
T3DSK1
4 days ago

How much longer must we put up with this arrogant petty little HITLER there is no room for him in Wales begone foul fiend.
Ms Blythyn surely is the type of politician we need I think if it were possible she should take this to a tribunal and sink the clown

John Ellis
John Ellis
4 days ago

Makes me really wish that Mark Drakeford was still at the national helm!

Something that back in 2018 I never remotely thought I might say, but experience changed my mind.

And the old maxim comes to mind that sometimes you don’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone.

Wiwergoch
Wiwergoch
4 days ago

What a brave and truthful response. No doubt VG thought she would pipe down. She’s everything he is not.

Sir Edward Pine Coffin
Sir Edward Pine Coffin
4 days ago

Obvious question: why is the Cabinet Handbook so secret? Why can’t the public know the guidelines that are used to decide whether a minister has committed a sacking offence?
It’s not like we’re discussing plans to annex Ludlow if law and order breaks down across the border.

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