Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Vaughan Gething elected Wales’ new First Minister

20 Mar 2024 5 minute read
Wales’ new First Minister Vaughan Gething – Image: Ben Birchall

Emily Price

Vaughan Gething has been elected Wales’ new Labour First Minister following a vote in the Senedd.

He will be the country’s fifth leader since the National Assembly for Wales, now called the Senedd, was established in 1999.

The former health minister will succeed Mark Drakeford who’s formal resignation was accepted by King Charles III this afternoon.

After winning the Labour leadership race at the weekend, Mr Gething said he will be the “first black leader in any European country”.

He narrowly beat education minister Jeremy Miles with 51.7% of the vote.

Donations

Mr Gething’s campaign has been mired in controversy over donations and about the role of unions in nominating him.

Welsh Labour politicians met earlier this week to discuss concerns about a £200,000 donation Mr Gething received from a company that was found guilty of environmental offences in January.

Atlantic Recycling, which is part of Dauson Environmental Group and controlled by David Neal, gave the new First Minister’s campaign £100,000 on December 18 2023 and £100,000 on January 11 2024.

Atlantic Recycling was also fined £300,000 over one of its workers’ deaths in February after it pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety at work rules.

Mr Gething rejected calls to pay back the money, insisting the donation was declared in line with Senedd and Electoral Commission rules.

Nominations

He defended his decision to take the donation saying “everyone has lessons to learn”.

The Llywydd invited nominations for the next First Minister on Wednesday (March 20).

Both the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies and the leader of Plaid Cymru were also nominated for the top job.

The act was merely a symbolic formality as neither have enough votes to secure the Welsh Government leadership role.

Both leaders have urged the incoming First Minister to return the £200,000 donation.

Vaughan Gething won the support of all the Labour members as well as Jane Dodds, the Senedd’s only Liberal Democrat member.

The Conservative and Plaid Cymru members voted for their respective party leaders.

The Senedd is made up of 60 members, but one member of Plaid – Rhys ab Owen – is currently suspended for acting inappropriately towards two women on a work night out.

In a speech to Senedd Members, the incoming First Minister said: “I will bring together a government that constantly makes the positive case for progressive politics. To remind people, that only through coming together, can we achieve for the many.

“I choose to make a stand for positivity and to never fan the flames that are hurtful to people and damaging to our global standing.

“To stand for a set of ideas and policy innovations that are rooted in Welsh values. To stand for a leadership grounded not in bitterness, resentment or the fruitless search for a past that never was, but a leadership based on hope.

“To advance the case for human rights, for solidarity and for a commitment to playing a collective, international role in addressing the challenges we face.”

On being Wales’ first Black leader, Mr Gething said it was a “daunting responsibility”.

He said: “And today, we can also expect the depressingly familiar pattern to emerge. Abuse on social media. Racist tropes disguised with polite language.

“People questioning my motives and my nationality. Whilst others question why I’m ‘playing the race card’.

To those people I say, once more – it is very easy not to care about identity when your own has never once been questioned or held you back.”

Royal Warrant

A First Minister of Wales is appointed via Royal Warrant – a legal document authorised by the King.

Once the Llywydd has informed the Welsh Government of the King’s approval, the new First Minister will take the statutory Official Oath before Mr Justice Griffiths, a Presiding Judge of the Wales circuit.

During a short ceremony at the Welsh Government’s headquarters in Cardiff, Mr Gething will “swear [to] well and truly serve His Majesty King Charles the Third in the office of First Minister of Wales”.

After the Senedd’s Easter recess, the new First Minister will appoint his Cabinet.

The outgoing First Minister, Mr Drakeford gave an emotional speech in the Senedd on Tuesday, thanking the people of Wales.

He said: “My aim throughout, as First Minister, has been to use the mandate my party and my Government secured to keep the promises we made to people across Wales.

“That has meant being prepared to do the things that are difficult today because we know that the benefits will lie in the lives of the generations to come.”

He was emotional as he spoke about the personal tragedy he had suffered in early 2023, when his wife of 46 years, Clare, died suddenly aged 71.

Mr Drakeford, who will return to the backbenches, described the last 12 months as the “hardest and the saddest of my life”.


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
21 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mawkernewek
Mawkernewek
21 days ago

Turns out that the First Minister of Wales isn’t actually elected by the Labour Party, or the Senedd at all, instead in fact being appointed by the King.

Paul
Paul
20 days ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

Hopfully this isn’t actually news to you today.

Glwyo
Glwyo
20 days ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

I heard after her Maj kicked the bucket that she did a good job holding politicians to account – I wonder if we’ll ever actually see this theory put to practice. Not today apparently.

Still it might prove amusing to point out to any cap-doffers that it is Charlie King of England who does the job and not Billy “Prince of Wales”.

David Pearn
David Pearn
20 days ago
Reply to  Glwyo

Not my prince, or princess ☹.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
21 days ago

Best of luck to him.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
20 days ago

How I long for the day when a First Minister and Y Senedd as a whole swears to well and truly serve the nation and people of Cymru.

Wiwergoch
Wiwergoch
20 days ago

I look forward to seeing VG stand up for Wales.

David
David
20 days ago
Reply to  Wiwergoch

You might have to wait until hell freezes over!

Gary H
Gary H
20 days ago

Labour has covered itself in shame by ratifying such a wangler. No good will come of it. And note his words – coded references to deny a separate Welsh future.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
20 days ago

It’s no good FM Vaughan Gething promising to see a “confidence” in Wales’s self-expression when Keir Starmer & UK Labour dictate to our Senedd Cymru how high to jump and what little devolution they are prepared ,if any, to devolve.

HarrisR
HarrisR
20 days ago

It’s wonderful to see the Labour party in Wales benefit from such community minded companies and donors, death and criminal convictions notwithstanding.

I’m sure we can build on these firm foundations to build a inclusively corrupt Wales, going forward.

As the Tramp Poet himself said, “what is life if full of care, we cannot find a spare £200K round here” How true.

Dave
Dave
20 days ago

So can we criticise him for dodging covid questions, accepting dodgy donations, general lack of accountability or self awareness, or are we just racist tropes using polite language?

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
20 days ago
Reply to  Dave

I made a earlier comment about this but for some reason it has not been allowed. A rewording is in order. Notice how he combines people rightly questioning his motives with accusations of him playing the race card which he does not deny.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
20 days ago

That is the sole reason why I would never want to be a politician, I would never swear allegiance to Mr charlie windsor!

I would prefer to see the monarchy abolished and an elected head of state so we can truly be a democratic country!

David Pearn
David Pearn
20 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Exactly 100% agree.

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
20 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Vaughan Gethin another sycophantic Labour party cap doffer, an embarrassment to Cymru.

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
20 days ago

What is your interpretation of his statement “the fruitless search for a past that never was” please?

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
20 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Could it be subtle jab at those who want an independent Wales?

Stevie B
Stevie B
20 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Another Labour party denier of Welsh history.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
20 days ago

Oh well, Vaughan Gething as First Minister, what could go wrong? Lower environmental standards and more polluted rivers? Yes of course. Has to be a payback for £200,000 donation. More dodgy donations and corruption? Yes, yes, yes. etc etc.

My response, I joined Plaid Cymru. The leader has sound policies, dynamism, charisma and a great presence. He would be great on the world stage. Say no to Labour

Mandi A
Mandi A
20 days ago

“whose” not “who’s”. Gething’s first appointment should be a great Minister for Education – how about Prof. Drakeford? Seriously, can’t have him sitting on the back row feeling sad and much more useful than going to the House of Lords.

Our Supporters

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