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Vaughan Gething was so upset at being a loser he cried before the vote, but onlookers said they’d never seen anything like it

After making headlines across the UK, the First Minister of Wales (FMW) is still clinging on to his job almost a week after he lost a no-confidence vote among his senior Welsh politicians.

Vaughan Gething has said he regrets the “impact” of his decision to take £200,000 from a company owned by a man convicted of illegally dumping waste, but at the same time appeared to blame the way this controversy has been reported by the media.

‘The media are to blame…’

To his critics, Mr Gething was “flailing around”, yet the FMW admitted there had been “real damage” caused to a “range of people”.

Mr Gething was in tears before the ballot was held in the Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (WP/SC) last week, and commentators said they had never seen anything like it.

The parliament’s rules do not require Mr Gething to quit, and he told reporters afterwards: “I’m going to carry on doing my duty”.

“I’m going to carry on doing my duty”

However one political analyst told The Eye“Gething seems to have been holed below the waterline, and it is obvious that some of his fellow cabinet members want him out”.

It was only in March that Mr Gething made history when he became the first black leader of any European country (succeeding Mark Drakeford) as the FMW, but after a succession of scandals, last Wednesday evening it seemed that MSs (Members of the Senedd) had had enough.

Was money handed over?

The main controversy (although certainly not the only one), has been his connection to the man with a dubious past.

There have been months of rows over the donations to Mr Gething’s leadership campaign from the company owned by a man previously convicted of environmental offences.

David John Neal wouldn’t comment on his large donation to Vaughan Gething’s campaign

The company is owned by David John Neal, who was given suspended sentences in 2013 for the illegal dumping of waste, and in 2017 for not cleaning it up.

It emerged during the recent contest that Mr Gething had lobbied on behalf of one of Mr Neal’s companies, before his first leadership run in 2018.

In a separate row, Mr Gething found himself having to defend a message he sent during the pandemic, where the then-health minister told colleagues he was deleting texts from a ministerial group chat.

Hannah Blythyn was sacked by Vaughan Gething

He later sacked Hannah Blythyn, alleging she was the source of the leak to Nation.Cymru (which, perhaps ironically in the circumstances, is partly funded by the Welsh Government [WG]).

Opposition parties demanded evidence, which Mr Gething has declined to provide.

Two MSs were ‘off sick’ during the no-confidence vote, and this would not have been unhelpful to his opponents.

Has Vaughan Gething been holed below the waterline?

They were Ms Blythyn herself, and Lee Waters, the former transport minister who had previously called for the donations at the centre of the main scandal to be returned.

But even if Mr Gething has been “holed below the waterline” he has insisted “I’m going to carry on doing my duty”.

For how long though?

 

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

The memories of Phil’s decades-long award-winning career in journalism (when commenting on major political stories was always paramount), as he was gripped by the rare disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

How bizarre…

Tomorrow – how during that career (when Phil was trained to use clear and simple language, avoiding jargon), political stories have been all-important, and the charging of a woman with assault as a banana milkshake was thrown over Nigel Farage brings to mind earlier actions.