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Vaughan Gething axes Cabinet Secretary in ‘unprecedented’ move

16 May 2024 5 minute read

Emily Price

First Minister Vaughan Gething has sacked one of Cabinet Secretaries in a move that’s been described as ‘unprecedented’.

In a statement, the First Minister said his decision to remove Minister for Social Partnership, Hannah Blythyn from his government, was based on the “recent disclosure of communication to the media”.

Mr Gething said: “Having reviewed the evidence available to me regarding the recent disclosure of communication to the media, I have regrettably reached the conclusion I have no alternative but to ask Hannah Blythyn to leave the Government.

“I’d like to record my gratitude for the work the Member has done to date, including her leadership through the fire and rescue services review, outstanding work leading the LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales and invaluable work on the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act.

“It is of vital importance we are able to maintain confidence amongst Government colleagues so that we work as one to focus on improving the lives of the people in Wales.

“Given Hannah’s talents and experience, I have been clear there is a route back for her to take up a Government position again in future. The Government has offered ongoing support to the Member.”

Ms Blythyn says she has “never leaked anything”.

In an X post she said: “I am deeply shocked and saddened by what has happened today. I am clear and have been clear that I did not, nor have I ever leaked anything. Integrity is all in politics and I retain mine.

“For a kid from Connah’s Quay it is an immense privilege to serve the community that shaped me, let alone to have served in my country’s government. I will say no more at present.”

A Labour source told Nation.Cymru: “If he could establish she leaked then he was right to sack her. If she didn’t think he should stay as FM she should have resigned.”

Another Labour source who wished to remain anonymous said: “Sacking Hannah Blythyn is a nasty distraction from the donations story today. The new government is in a sorry state before it has even properly started, and the party itself is in a general state of turmoil.

“He failed to achieve anything during his trip to Mumbai. He’s pushed back the SFS by a year. He’s kicked the Council Tax reform into the long grass. The Tories and media are onto him about the environmental stink in Pembrokeshire, and he can’t shake the public and media perception that his campaign donation was corrupt and immoral.

“He’s even got UK Labour now spooked, dealing with him at arms-length and blocking him from installing his man Stewart Owadally to the General Secretary post of Welsh Labour.

“Perhaps Andrew RT Davies is right and he really will be gone by the end of the year.”

Decisions

It comes following weeks of controversies for the new First Minister who has been embroiled in serval scandals relating to donations to his election campaign and messages he deleted in a ministerial group chat during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On May 7, Nation.Cymru exclusively revealed a previously undisclosed message from a ministerial group chat in which Mr Gething told others he was deleting messages because, “They can be captured in an FOI [freedom of information disclosure request].”

But he went on to claim that the messages did not relate to government business, but to Labour group discussions where colleagues were making comments “to and about each other”.

In February, Nation.Cymru also revealed how a business man convicted of dumping sludge on a sensitive wetland site in Newport had donated £200,000 to Mr Gething’s election campaign.

Several members of the First Minister’s Cabinet and his Labour backbenchers have said he shouldn’t have taken a money.

Mr Gething narrowly defeated Jeremy Miles in the contest to succeed Mark Drakeford as party leader.

Many have taken the view that he would not have won without the considerable financial support provided to him by Dauson.

According the BBC Wales, it’s estimated that £31,000 left over from Mr Gething’s campaign to be First Minister will be given to the Labour Party having spent most of the £250,000 he was gifted.

We later revealed that the company which bankrolled the First Minister’s election campaign owe £400,000 to a bank wholly owned by the Welsh Government.

‘Catching up’

Leader of the Welsh Conservative Senedd group, Andrew RT Davies said the sacking is “unprecedented”.

He said: “Vaughan Gething’s decisions during the Labour leadership campaign are catching up with him.

“Just weeks into his time as First Minister, Vaughan Gething has had to sack somebody from his Cabinet, which is almost unprecedented in recent memory in Wales.

“Vaughan Gething needs to prove quickly that he is capable of governing Wales, because as it stands his government is being stretched to breaking point by internal divisions.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Leader of Plaid Cymru says Mr Gething should consider is own position as First Minister.

He said: “In his first two months since his election, Vaughan Gething has undermined the office of First Minister and lost the trust of his party and the nation.

“Rather than seizing on the opportunity to put Wales on a fairer and more ambitious path, his tenure has been marred by controversy, a lack of transparency and serious questions about judgement.

“The sacking of one of his Ministers, and the allegations and counter allegations which surround it, demonstrates again that the First Minister’s priority is self-preservation rather than the public interest. If anyone should be considering their position, it is the First Minister himself.”

Nation.Cymru does not reveal its sources.

More to follow…


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Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
6 days ago

Gwarthus. This bloke needs to go. He’s now a liability. Zero repentance and a huge ego.

Mozart
Mozart
6 days ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

He’s always been a liability

Carpé Diem
Carpé Diem
6 days ago

Putin , Orban , Mugabi and the Slovak PM now VG ?

No internal dissent and a sudden exit 😎

I hope HB keepe clear of 17th Storey high rise buildings…. 😎

Were not a one party state – yet !

Jen
Jen
6 days ago

Why was Hannah B ever there is the first place? Failed on due diligence on appointing the Fire Officer for S Wales. Has her action plan written by Glitter Cymru. Be poetic justice if Jack Sergeant gets her job.

Alun
Alun
6 days ago

Surely sacking her is an admission of guilt?

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
6 days ago

Vaughn Gethin and Dripford before him where Labour Achilies heel somehow i dont trust him he reminds of a smarmy Tory i think he will be gone in the not to distant future

CosmiKu
CosmiKu
6 days ago

Gething’s blundering is a preview of what happens when Starmer gets into Westminster.

Back biting, pathetic briefing, leaks, corruption and egos coming ahead of the interests of the country.

What a mess we find ourselves in.

Why vote
Why vote
6 days ago

Hope VG reads this GO GO GO GO GO GO go on resign do yourself a favour before you doom wales to political oblivion you are destroying any credibility this little country has left after your disastrous time in office its one problem after another all you gave done is defend yourself every question in the senedd is about you and your behavior we need somebody to run this country and make the best political decisions for this country and be above reproach and that is not you.

Annibendod
Annibendod
6 days ago

Won’t be long now. We’ll soon be saying cheerio to Vaughan Gething.

richard
richard
6 days ago

He’s always struck me as being a man with a chip on his shoulder. In the finest traditions of the British Labour Party.

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