Vaughan Gething: Wales’s first minister loses confidence vote

Vaughan Gething: Wales's first minister loses confidence vote

Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething has lost a vote of no confidence – but dismissed the motion as a “gimmick” and vowed to carry on.

He lost the vote with 29 voting against and 27 for. The motion of no confidence was put forward by the Conservatives, the largest opposition group in the Senedd (Welsh parliament).

Mr Gething has only been first minister since March, but in that time he has faced questions over a controversial £200k donation to his leadership campaign from a man convicted of environmental offences.

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He said the donations had been made in line with party protocols and has refused calls to return the money.

Despite losing, Mr Gething does not have to step down – the vote is not binding, but it does put further pressure on the embattled leader.

Insisting he would stay in his post, Mr Gething called the motion a “transparent gimmick” and said he is proud to serve his country.

“To serve and lead my country. That’s what I’ve done today. That’s what I’ll carry on doing,” he said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has given his backing to the party’s leader in Wales, telling reporters on the campaign trail Mr Gething was doing a “good job”.

Vaughan Gething was elected first minister in March

‘Not a gimmick’

Introducing the motion tabled by his party, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said it was “not a gimmick”.

“This was talked of prior to the general election,” he said.

“It is about judgement, honesty and transparency.”

Leader of Plaid Cymru, the pro-independence party, denied the motion was “tribal party politics”.

“We must be different to Westminster, not only in words but in deeds too,” he said.

“Today, we, these benches, are acting in what we firmly believe in the interests of the people of Wales.”

The first minister now has a tricky decision to make

Dan Whitehead

Dan Whitehead

West of England and Wales correspondent


Just 78 days into the job and Vaughan Gething has lost the confidence of the Welsh parliament.

It may well be only by a narrow margin and because two Labour members were off sick – but whatever the factors behind this loss, it’s not a great look.

The first minister says he’ll carry on and that the vote was a gimmick.

The Tories, Plaid and Lib Dems here in Wales are all calling for him to resign.

D-Day commemorations tomorrow may put a momentary pause on the controversy – but Vaughan Gething now has a problem.

Do nothing, and he’ll be constantly reminded the Senedd does not have confidence in his leadership. Resign, and trigger yet more political upheaval.

It may not be his choice; the Conservatives could put forward another vote of no confidence in the government, not just Mr Gething. They now are considering their next step.

All this amid an election campaign with four weeks to go – what happens next in the Senedd could have a wider impact in UK politics.

But chair of the Welsh Labour group in the Senedd, Vikki Howells, said the motion was “politics at its worst” and was a “cynical Tory gimmick”.

“With the Tory party tanking in the polls…it’s no wonder that they will do anything, anything at all to try and shift the spotlight from their own record of abject failure,” she said.

One Labour member, Joyce Watson, said the decision to hold the confidence vote on the eve of the D-Day anniversary was “disrespectful” to veterans.

Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds said she no longer had confidence in the first minister.

But she said she had “never voted in a vote of confidence here in the Senedd” and had in fact voted to confirm Mr Gething as first minister in March.


Mr Gething was emotional as the motion was being debated. He said he has “made and will continue to make mistakes”.

“It does hurt deeply when my intentions are questioned,” Mr Gething added.

“I will not shy away from scrutiny and challenge.”

He insisted all rules had been followed.

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Speaking after the vote, Mr Gething said it was a “very disappointing afternoon”.

He said the outcome of the vote had been affected by the fact that two members of his group did not attend, with Vikki Howell, the chairwoman of the Welsh Labour group, having said they were “unwell”.

Mr Gething said: “To go into the Senedd for what is a transparent gimmick in the general election, led by the Welsh Conservatives, to go into a position where the ill-health in two of our members has affected the outcome of the vote,” he said.

“And as I said, on ill-health grounds, we have always paired. That means you even up people from one party to another.

“We did that for more than three months for the leader of the Welsh Conservatives.”

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As well as questions over donations, Mr Gething has in recent weeks faced accusations he misled the COVID Inquiry over deleted messages and sacked one of his ministers for allegedly leaking information to the media.

That former minister was one of two Labour members who were absent for the confidence vote.

Neither Hannah Blythyn nor former transport minister Lee Waters voted.

Plaid Cymru then withdrew from a cooperation deal they had with the Labour government in which the party lent its support on dozens of key policy areas.