Posted: Thu 11th Jul 2024

Nation.Cymru confirms Delyn MS Hannah Blythyn was not source of leaked messages

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

News website Nation.Cymru has confirmed that Delyn MS Hannah Blythyn was not the source of their story revealing First Minister Vaughan Gething’s admission of deleting messages during the Covid-19 crisis to avoid Freedom of Information (FOI) disclosure.

Ms Blythyn has denied she was the source of a leaked screenshot of a ministerial group iMessage chat.

In a story published on its site today, Mark Mansfield, chief executive of Nation.Cymru, emphasised the importance of protecting journalistic sources.

“Protecting sources is very important for all journalists, and we take that responsibility extremely seriously,” he stated.

“It is important that whistleblowers can rest assured that their identity will not be disclosed by any news outlet to whom they reveal important matters of public interest.”

Nation.Cymru’s decision to publicly clear Ms Blythyn’s name comes in response to concerns over her reputation and wellbeing, which have been affected by the allegations.

In response, the Welsh government said that an “unredacted version of the screenshot sent to the Welsh Government by a journalist identified the owner of the phone the screenshot originated from.”

“The First Minister has made it repeatedly clear that he was not prepared to release this unredacted version unless all individuals identifiable through the exchanges agree to its release.”

Ms Blythyn made a personal statement in the Senedd on Tuesday, where she emphatically denied leaking information about her Labour colleagues.

Her statement directly contradicts Gething and Health Minister Eluned Morgan, who claim to have evidence that Ms Blythyn leaked communications to the media.

Ms Blythyn, representing Delyn since 2016, was dismissed in May amid accusations that she leaked messages between ministers revealing that the First Minister had deleted Covid-era texts to avoid freedom of information laws.

In her first Senedd appearance since the sacking, Ms Blythyn asserted she was unaware of any investigation and was not shown any evidence before her dismissal.

She also spoke about the toll the situation has taken on her mental health, reiterating her innocence.

“No one who witnessed Ms Blythyn making her statement in the Senedd could fail to be aware of the immense impact her dismissal as a minister has had on her wellbeing,” Mr Mansfield said.

“Her distress has undoubtedly been compounded by the fact that no proper investigation took place before she was dismissed. Instead, the First Minister decided to bypass due process and find her summarily guilty of leaking information to Nation.Cymru,” Mr Mansfield added.

Nation.Cymru’s original report highlighted Mr Gething’s message deletions, which he initially justified by stating that the messages were part of Welsh Government business and therefore subject to FOI.

These messages included discussions on the controversial decision to base GCSE and A-level results on teachers’ assessments after the pandemic prevented students from sitting exams.

Mr Mansfield further stated, “We can state unequivocally that Mr Gething is not telling the truth when he suggests that he has incontrovertible evidence that Ms Blythyn was our source.”

“Hannah Blythyn has behaved with integrity. Vaughan Gething has not,” Mr Mansfield concluded.

Motion

The Welsh Conservatives have tabled a motion demanding that Mr Gething publish the evidence he used to sack Ms Blythyn, who remains the MS for Delyn.

The motion, set for debate next Wednesday, cites Section 37(1)(b) of the Government of Wales Act 2006, which empowers the Senedd to require the First Minister to produce relevant documents.

Should the motion pass, Gething may be compelled to release the evidence.

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