Vaughan Gething loses Senedd vote of no confidence but says he won't quit

The first minister, Vaughan Gething, has lost a Senedd vote of no confidence today (Wednesday, 5 June), but says he will not resign.

It comes after members of the Senedd cast their votes on whether they have confidence in Mr Gething's ability as a leader.

Members of the Senedd voted with 29 in favour and 27 against. The motion therefore passes.

The result is not binding and does not compel the first minister to resign.

In an interview following the no confidence vote, the First Minister described the move as a "desperate gimmick" from the Conservatives during the general election campaign.

When asked whether or not he would consider resigning, Mr Gething told reporters he would "carry on" doing his duty, adding: "If anyone has questions about my integrity, I would like to see some evidence about what that looks like."

He continued: "Where is there evidence that I have ever done anything in a way that I should not as a minister. I can tell you there is no evidence of that, because it has not happened."

Mr Gething appeared to be emotional during the debate in the chamber, being handed a tissue and dabbing his eyes while Labour MS Vikki Howells spoke in defence of him.

The vote on his leadership comes just 77 days after he was elected to his role as first minister.

Standing up to respond to scrutiny during the debate, Mr Gething said: "I am human, I am fallible."

"It hurts deeply when my intentions are questioned," he added.

He continued: "I have never ever made a decision in more than a decade as a minister for personal or financial gain - never."

Mr Gething said he "will not shy away from scrutiny and challenge."

The first minister became emotional during the debate at the Senedd.

The vote was tabled by Welsh Conservatives following a row over donations to Mr Gething's leadership campaign.

It was revealed in February that he received £20,000 in 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.

The First Minister said he did not know the company was linked to an investigation when it donated money to his leadership bid.

Mr Gething faced further criticism when he sacked former Social Partnership Minister, Hannah Blythyn, for reasons connected to the leak of phone messages. Ms Blythyn denies leaking material.

This led to Plaid Cymru leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth, deciding to pull out of the cooperation agreement.

Less than two weeks later, the Welsh Conservatives announced they would table a motion of no confidence in the First Minister. However, the vote is not binding, meaning the first minister would not be required to step down.

Speaking to ITV Cymru Wales following the vote, Mr Gething said it had been "a disappointing afternoon."

Asked if he would resign, Mr Gething said: "If anyone has questions about my integrity, I'd like to hear some evidence about what that looks like.

"Where is there evidence that I've ever done anything in a way that I should not as a minister. I can tell you there is no evidence of that because it has not happened.

"Today, was an exercise in muck-throwing. The range of different things that were said members know are simply not true is really quite disgraceful."

He added: "I've taken very seriously the debate in the Senedd today. I arrived, I attended, I took seriously the points that were made, I took them for what they were, and I responded in the chamber in a way that shows how much I respect the Senedd that I campaigned for more than two decades ago.

"I am going to carry on doing my duty. I am fiercely proud to be the first minister for Wales and to have the opportunity to serve and lead my country.

Responding to Mr Gething losing the confidence vote, Andrew RT Davies MS, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said: “Vaughan Gething has lost the confidence of the people of Wales.

“He has lost the confidence of the Senedd. The only person who is still batting for Vaughan Gething is Keir Starmer.”

Speaking after the vote, Rhun ap Iorwerth called on the first minister to resign.

He said: "The Senedd has spoken on behalf of the people of Wales - we have no confidence in the Labour First Minister.

"Without every Labour member backing him in tonight’s vote, Vaughan Gething must do the honourable thing and resign to ensure no further instability at the heart of the Labour Welsh Government."

He added: "His government is clearly in disarray and as such is unable to face the significant challenges ahead for Wales.By honouring the result of the vote, Welsh Government and our Senedd can move on from this regretful episode."

Opening the debate on the First Minister, Mr Davies said: “What are we to assume here? We have one minister saying that they did not leak and her integrity is intact, we have the First Minister saying he has the evidence to show that she did leak. Make that evidence available First Minister.”

Mr Davies said the First Minister is showing “massive disrespect” to the people of Wales by not publishing the evidence.

He added: “This is not a gimmick, this is a motion put down in opposition time that might well not be binding, but will send a significant message on the transparency, the honesty and the judgement call of the First Minister since he assumed office.”

During the debate, Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said devolution in Wales has been "relatively fortunate that we've had few financial scandals".

He added that today was a "very grave day in the history of the Senedd," as "nobody here is beyond reproach.

"Taken together the first minister's lack of judgement, and contrition, along with a bunker mentality when faced with indignation from all sides of the chamber and the Welsh public I believe do not demonstrate the required skill set for the office of first minister."

"We must be different from Westminster, not only in words, but deeds too," he added.

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