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Tipping point ‘getting closer when Gething will be removed from office – Labour source

16 May 2024 5 minute read
Vaughan Gething

Martin Shipton

The sacking of Hannah Blythyn as a minister brings closer the tipping point when the Labour Party accepts that keeping Vaughan Gething in office is more damaging than getting rid of him, a senior Welsh Labour source has told us.

Ms Blythyn’s dismissal – for allegedly leaking iMessages to NationCymru that had been deleted by Mr Gething from a ministerial group chat – has created further turmoil within the Senedd Labour group, already in disarray following our earlier revelation that he accepted donations totalling £200k from a businessman convicted of environmental pollution offences.

Angry

Many people in Welsh Labour are angry that Ms Blythyn has been sacked after being accused of leaking messages that showed Mr Gething had misled the UK Covid Inquiry when he claimed that messages on his mobile phone were deleted not by him, but during a refit of the phone by the Senedd’s IT department.

The deleted messages were related to Welsh Government business and should have been handed to the Inquiry with other documentation that was handed over.

A senior Welsh Labour source told NationCymru: “Everyone knows that Vaughan can’t recover from this, but the question is how much longer can he stay in office with new revelations constantly coming out that put him, the party and Wales generally in a bad light.

“The team around Starmer that controls what happens is currently standing by him, although their patience is wearing thin. Vaughan is on the right of the party, so they have no ideological objection to him. If he’d been on the left, they would almost certainly have moved against him by now.

“Equally, if Labour had one or two seats less than we won at the last Senedd election in 2021, he would have gone by now. If they’d been in the majority, the opposition parties could have combined to move a successful vote of no confidence in him.”

Disquiet

Asked whether moves to oust Mr Gething would come from within Welsh Labour or from Keir Starmer’s leadership team, the source said: “It’s likely to be a combination of the two. At the moment, despite the growing disquiet, the view is that removing him would create a bigger storm and be damaging for the party.

“But I just don’t see how a general election campaign can go ahead with Vaughan Gething still in place as the First Minister. Keir Starmer will be coming to Wales, accompanied by political correspondents whose outlets cover the whole of the UK. If Vaughan Gething is sitting next to Starmer at a press conference, he is bound to get asked about the scandals in which Vaughan has been embroiled.

“Starmer’s narrative is about how he’s going to clean up British politics following years of sleaze under the Tories. That’s going to be more difficult to get across if the Welsh Government – the only UK nation where Labour is in charge – is led by a politician who has accepted an enormous sum from a convicted criminal. Given that 80% of media outlets are hostile to Labour, that is not a good look.”

Crisis

The Labour source added: “Alastair Campbell [Tony Blair’s communications chief] always used to say that if a negative story about a minister was still getting headlines 14 days after it broke, the minister would have to go. It’s longer in Wales, but there’s no sign of the crisis affecting Vaughan’s government dying down. We’re definitely getting closer to the tipping point where getting rid of him will be the better option.”

Another issue that creates a potential minefield for Keir Starmer is Mr Gething’s assertion that he would like the excess money from his Welsh Labour leadership campaign spent on diversity programmes. Figures released to BBC Wales by Mr Gething’s campaign team showed that he spent around £219,000 against £61,000 spent by Jeremy Miles, the rival he narrowly defeated. Mr Gething was left with a surplus of more than £31,600 that he says he will pass over to the Labour Party.

However, Welsh Labour does not exist as a separate accounting unit for the purpose of registering donations, and the excess money would have to be paid to UK Labour.

A Welsh Labour source said: “After all the fuss Keir Starmer and other members of the Shadow Cabinet at Westminster have made about dodgy Tory donations, is Labour really going to accept money that originally came from a criminal? Labour’s reputation will be severely tainted if it does so. Starmer should insist that the money is paid back to David Neal, the convicted polluter who donated it in the first place.

“Trying to launder dirty money by handing it to worthy causes isn’t going to remove the stench from it.”


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Why vote
Why vote
1 day ago

Keep him as first minister until after the elections in 26 what a morale booster he will be, flying the flag for the senedd keeping the labour loyal in their place securing the independence from his mate in Westminster whilst all that time repeating, I have done nothing wrong I have declared everything, going to India was the right thing to do. I had to sack her she’s been a very naughty person, it was nothing to to do with me. I am not in charge of that department in the senedd, I cannot comment on that it’s out of… Read more »

Why vote
Why vote
1 day ago

Tipping point, why wait give him a good old fashioned shove. Then ask the country not the old boys club not the union’s ask the people.

Tim Hughes
Tim Hughes
1 day ago

Come on labour politicians in the senedd,show some guts

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
1 day ago

Labour have been corrupt in the valleys for many years, I’m surprised it has taken this long for their corruption to be exposed in the Senedd

Gwern Gwynfil
Gwern Gwynfil
1 day ago

“The team around Starmer that controls what happens” – from a senior Labour source

I find this more disturbing than the trials and tribulations of our new FM

It seems we remain a fiefdom

Starmer has not been elected by Wales – he and his team should not be ‘controlling’ our elected members and FM…

This makes me deeply uncomfortable

Last edited 1 day ago by Gwern Gwynfil
Bernard McCormack
Bernard McCormack
5 minutes ago

When are the Welsh people going to wake up and realise that continually voting for Labour has and is doing immense damage to Wales.
That is the reason Wales is one of the poorest regions of the UK.
With the lowest education standards, housing accomodation and health service etc..
Now we have a clueless joke of a First Minister who could not run a bath and bring paid three thousand pounds a week and a big fat pension as well.
Drakeford was bad enough for Wales as first minister but this guy looks like he will be worse.

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