Welsh leader Gething loses symbolic confidence vote

By Thomson Reuters Jun 5, 2024 | 11:37 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – Vaughan Gething, leader of the semi-autonomous Welsh government, lost a non-binding vote of confidence on Wednesday but defied pressure to resign despite the blow to his authority.

Gething became the first Black head of government in Europe in March, but has faced a turbulent 77 days in office.

He has been criticised over the source of a political donation, the transparency of his disclosures to the COVID-19 inquiry from his time as health minister, and his decision to dismiss a minister after accusing her of leaking.

He has previously denied any wrongdoing over donations.

Wednesday’s motion, put forward by the Welsh Conservative Party, cited all three issues as reasons to have no confidence in Gething as First Minister.

It passed by 29 votes to 27, but is technically non-binding and does not automatically trigger his resignation or the collapse of the government.

The Labour Party-run Welsh government has responsibility for policy areas including health and education, while others such as defence and energy policy are set by the Conservative Party-led government in London.

Gething, who at one point during the debate was seen wiping away tears as one of his colleagues spoke in support of him, said he regretted that his integrity had been called into question.

“I have never, ever, made a decision in more than a decade as a minister for personal or financial gain,” he said.

He went on to challenge his opponents to table a formal no confidence motion, indicating – as had been said by his party colleagues in advance of the debate – that he would not resign.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)