Health Minister survives vote of no-confidence

Lesley Griffiths AM, Health Minister
Lesley Griffiths rejected all claims that she or her officials had acted improperly Photo: National Assembly for Wales

It has been a difficult day for the Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths, who has now survived a no-confidence vote in the Senedd.

The motion was tabled by opposition parties, who demanded to know how much the Health Minister knew about emails exchanged between her officials, and the author of a report into a controversial reorganisation of hospital services.

Lesley Griffiths refuted claims that her officials had any influence over the document, which was presented as an independent report which suggested changes to hospitals.

The opposition parties said she failed to answer their questions when she made an urgent statement on the issue in the Assembly last week, and tabled a motion of no-confidence.

This morning, the Health Minister faced questions from members of the Health Committee where she explained her position, along with her officials and the report's author Professor Marcus Longley.

Both the Health Minister and Professor Longley continued to defend themselves, maintaining that the report was the independent work of Professor Longley.

You have not shown me any evidence where you think the Welsh Government influenced the report. We did not influence the report.

– Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths

Is there any evidence of collusion or conniving in any of the documents? Are they 'sexed up?' The answer is categorically, 'no.'

Can I be very clear? I did not ask the Welsh Government to influence my conclusions. They did not try to do so.

– Professory Marcus Longley

However, their arguments came under criticism from Conservative and Plaid Cymru. Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar AM said Lesley Griffiths' argument "remains utterly unconvincing", while Plaid said:

The Health Minister has survived a vote of no confidence by the skin of her teeth. She now needs to front up and be held responsible for the political decisions that she is accountable for.

– Spokesperson, Plaid Cymru

This evening, Lesley Griffiths faced a vote of no-confidence, which although not binding, would have led to calls for her resignation.

Despite support from the Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats, the motion was defeated 29 votes to 28.