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Vaughan Gething denies any wrongdoing over iMessage sent to ministers

07 May 2024 4 minute read
First Minister Vaughan Gething – Image: Senedd Cymru

Emily Price

Vaughan Gething has denied any wrongdoing amid revelations that he may have misled the UK Covid Inquiry by deleting records of conversations he had with other ministers during the height of the pandemic.

On Tuesday morning (May 7), Nation.Cymru exclusively revealed a previously undisclosed message sent by Mr Gething to his ministerial colleagues in an iMessage group chat.

The text message sent on Monday August 17 2020 by the then Health Minister said: “I’m deleting the messages in this group. They can be captured in an FOI [Freedom of Information request] and I think we are all in the right place on the choice being made.”

The message was sent when Wales was still subject to Covid restrictions following the first lockdown.

On August 17 – the date of Mr Gething’s message – the Welsh Government announced that A-level and GCSE students would be awarded the grades estimated for them by their teachers.

There had been uproar the previous week after 42% of grades were lower than teacher assessments, having been processed by an algorithm.

Vaughan Gething’s text message posted to the ministerial group chat on Monday August 17 2020

Decision making

During First Minister’s Questions on Tuesday (May 7), Mr Gething was grilled by opposition party leaders on the message.

Leader of the Welsh Tories, Andrew RT Davies asked for confirmation of whether the message had been written by the former Health Minister.

Mr Gething agreed he had sent the message, but claimed it related to a “Labour group meeting” and not about a discussion around Covid decision making during the pandemic.

Plaid Cymru Leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth asked the First Minister whether he understood why people were questioning whether he had committed “perjury”.


Mr Gething said it was an “extraordinary accusation” to make in the absence of “context and fact”.

He said: “The individual message relates to a discussion within the Labour group and about how people do and don’t talk to each other.”

The First Minister told the Chamber that he “rejected completely” the suggestion that he had not been honest with the Covid Inquiry.

Responding to the Plaid Cymru Leader, he said: “I’d ask the Member to think again about his accusation that I have committed perjury.

“That is a serious matter and not one that I think he should lightly make.”

Mr ap Iorwerth said: “Does the First Minister think his actions on the donation, on the deleted messages and goodness knows what comes next as people keep on digging, have served to enhance or diminish the reputation of this Senedd, the Welsh Government and the role of First Minister?”

Mr Gething said he was “very proud” to be the First Minister of Wales.

He added: ” I have provided all of the information available to me. I have not deleted information by text or WhatsApp to try to avoid scrutiny.

“And I hope that, when the Member has a fuller picture of events, he will withdraw the obnoxious accusation he has made. It does not actually do the Member much credit.”

Just prior to Plenary beginning, the Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies announced he had written to the UK Covid Inquiry Chair, Baroness Heather Hallett, calling for the First Minister to be recalled to the Inquiry.

A spokesman for the UK Covid-19 Inquiry confirmed today it has been made aware of the message and is now considering whether Mr Gething will need to provide further evidence.


It comes amid weeks of controversy for the new First Minister over donations he accepted to his campaign to become Welsh Labour leader.

In March, we revealed that Mr Gething accepted a £200,000 donation to his leadership campaign from convicted polluter David Neal of Dauson Environmental Group.

Nation.Cymru later revealed that Dauson Environmental Group Ltd were £400,000 in debt to the Development Bank of Wales – a bank wholly owned by the Welsh Government.

The loan was awarded to the company when Vaughan Gething was the economy minister.

The newly elected First Minister has rejected calls from opposition parties for an independent probe into the scandal.

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Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
5 days ago

The bloke’s arrogance!

Why vote
Why vote
5 days ago

Is there no record of what was deleted anywhere on planet earth saved off on a phone or computer or server, this appears really dodgy that conversations on government owned devices can be erased so simply and effectively really dodgy why would anyone want to send a message to any group then delete it. ??????

5 days ago
Reply to  Why vote

Rishi Sunak deleted all his messages and Boris Johnson “lost” his phone. So I suppose the answer to your question is no.

5 days ago

New Script writers ✍️ please ……you just couldn’t make this up 🔝

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