Posted: Wed 10th Jul 2024

Plaid Cymru leader demands urgent statement from Vaughan Gething over sacking of Delyn MS from ministerial role

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has called on the First Minister to make an urgent statement in response to former minister Hannah Blythyn’s personal address to the Senedd on Tuesday, July 9.

In a letter to the First Minister, Mr ap Iorwerth raised serious concerns over the dismissal of Social Partnership Minister Ms Blythyn, who was sacked in May amid allegations of leaking information to the press.

Ms Blythyn, who has represented Delyn since 2016, broke her silence Tuesday, once again denying the accusations made by Vaughan Gething.

She was accused of leaking messages between ministers that revealed the First Minister had deleted COVID-era texts to avoid freedom of information legislation.

In her first appearance in the Senedd since her sacking, Ms Blythyn addressed the chamber, stating she was not shown any evidence before her dismissal and was unaware she was under investigation or had breached the ministerial code.

She emphasised the toll the last few months have taken on her mental health and reiterated her innocence.

Mr ap Iorwerth’s letter to Mr Gething expressed dissatisfaction with the process followed in Ms Blythyn’s removal, stating: “You are on the record as stating that it is your belief that the Member in question was responsible for leaking material to the press, a claim which Ms Blythyn denied at the time and which was refuted again today.”

“I have previously raised with you my concerns that no proper process was conducted prior to the Minister’s removal from office and having heard the Member’s representations today, I remain unsatisfied that due process was undertaken.”

He continued: “Your authority as First Minister has been significantly undermined by your acceptance of a £200,000 donation and your subsequent disregard of the result of a Senedd vote of confidence.”

“We again have two conflicting accounts pertaining to the allegation of the unauthorised release of information which casts a further cloud on your ability to govern without distraction.”

Mr ap Iorwerth called for transparency and requested the publication of all evidence supporting the decision to dismiss Ms Blythyn.

He urged the First Minister to make an urgent statement in the Senedd addressing the concerns raised by Ms Blythyn’s personal statement.

In her speech, Ms Blythyn described her experience as a privilege to serve in government, particularly under Mark Drakeford, and highlighted the lack of proper process in her removal.

She stated: “I share this now not in search of sympathy – I don’t want people’s sympathy – but because my recent experience has brought home to me that whilst we talk the talk on mental health, there is still more to do to improve our understanding.”

Ms Blythyn’s emotional address received applause from opposition benches, while most of the Labour Senedd group remained quiet.

She was accused of leaking screenshots to Nation.Cymru, showing deleted messages in a ministerial group chat during the pandemic.

Ms Blythyn has consistently denied being the source of the leak, affirming she could look all her colleagues “in the eye” and say she had “never leaked or briefed the media” about any of them.

Mr Gething, who faced a no-confidence motion in June, has resisted opposition calls to publish the evidence behind his decision.

He previously stated the importance of maintaining confidence among government colleagues to focus on improving the lives of people in Wales.

Nation.Cymru has said it has “never revealed the source of the Covid messages.”

 

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