Vaughan Gething wins leadership race to become Wales' next first minister

  • In his speech, Vaughan Gething says "Friends let's get to work"

Vaughan Gething has been elected as the next Welsh Labour leader and is set to succeed Mark Drakeford as the first minister of Wales.

Labour members have chosen Mr Gething, 50, to be their next party leader, succeeding Mark Drakeford, who has held the position since 2018.

His victory means he is set to become the first Black leader of any nation in Europe.

Mr Gething beat his only rival, the education minister Jeremy Miles.

Welsh Labour said Vaughan Gething achieved 51.7% of the vote compared to rival Jeremy Miles with 48.3%.

In total, 57.8% of members voted and 9.4% of affiliates, giving an overall turnout of 16.1%.

Here is a look at the next first minister and his vision for Wales.

Who is Vaughan Gething?

Vaughan Gething was born in Zambia and brought up in Dorset. He was educated at Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities.

Mr Gething was a solicitor and former partner at Thompsons.

In an ITV Wales interview, Mr Gething had said it "won't take very long for people to know exactly who he is". Credit: PA Images

He is also a member of the GMB, UNISON and Unite unions, and was the youngest ever President of the Wales TUC.

He previously served as a county councillor, school governor and community service volunteer – supporting and caring for a student with cerebral palsy.

Mr Gething is also a former president of NUS Wales.

In an ITV Cymru Wales poll, 11% of people thought Vaughan Gething should be the next leader of the Welsh Government, compared to 72% who did not know who should be the next first minister.

In an ITV Wales interview, Mr Gething had said it "won't take very long for people to know exactly who he is" when it comes to the right person for the job.

What role did he hold before winning the leadership?

As minister for economy since 2021, Mr Gething has been responsible for driving the Welsh Government's economic policies and strategies.

In the ITV Wales' Sharp End interview, when asked about Wales having the lowest average wages in the UK and how he can increase it, he had explained: "Well, it is very simple, it's more and better jobs. Taking advantage of the green industrial revolution.

"Not just energy offshore, but what does that mean for our key futures and advance manufacturing at a whole range of other areas? These are real growth industries with good wages."

He was the former minister for health and social services in 2016.

What were his past roles and responsibilities?

Mr Gething's mission for Wales has been "to have a country that’s at ease with itself - a modern, confident Wales, one where we have an economy that creates good jobs and good opportunities."

In his manifesto, Mr Gething has focused heavily on the NHS - with lots of spending pledges.

In ITV Wales' Sharp End interview, Mr Gething had said: "Some of what we want to do, does mean we’ll need more resources because I think for the sort of NHS we all want we need resources, we need reform, recruitment and retention.

"We don’t get a different view on a future of resources without a change of the UK government. After 14 years of austerity, all of our choices get more and more difficult."

Gething has defended taking £200,000 in donations from a company whose director was convicted of environmental offences. Credit: UK Covid Inquiry

Welsh Labour leadership winner Mr Gething had earlier defended taking £200,000 in donations from a company whose director was convicted of environmental offences.

Mr Gething had received donations from Dauson Environmental Group whose director David Neal was given a suspended prison sentence in 2013 for illegally dumping waste on a conservation site on the Gwent Levels.

In a BBC debate last month, Mr Gething was asked about the donation. He was asked if Mr Neal was an "appropriate person" to receive donations from.

To which Mr Gething had responded: "All donations are checked and then filed properly with the Electoral Commission and indeed declared to the Senedd.

"The issue in Pembrokeshire is one that I understand is being resolved in accordance with NRW guidance and requirements and will be dealt with in the coming weeks."

On 20mph, Mr Gething pledged reviews of the policy introduced by the Welsh Government in September last year.

The lowering of the default speed limit, which the Welsh Government says was largely for safety reasons, has divided public opinion.

However, Mr Gething stuck by the policy and said he would think about its implementation.

The former economy minister had said he would not be scrapping the policy but would "listen to the public".

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