Posted: Thu 11th Jul 2024

Tory motion demands First Minister reveal evidence behind Delyn MSs dismissal from ministerial post

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A month after losing a vote of no confidence, First Minister Vaughan Gething is bracing for another crucial vote in the Senedd.

The Welsh Conservatives have tabled a motion demanding that Gething publish the evidence he used to sack former Social Partnership Minister Hannah Blythyn, the MS for Delyn.

This development follows Ms Blythyn’s 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.

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.

Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, commented, “Yet again, because he will not provide any answers voluntarily, the First Minister has to be dragged kicking and screaming to the Senedd. The First Minister expects us to take his word for it that he had evidence to sack Hannah Blythyn, but sadly, thanks to his behaviour in office, the people of Wales cannot take his word for it. It’s time to get answers, and I hope Members across the Senedd will join us next week in voting for transparency in government.”

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has also called for an urgent statement from the First Minister, highlighting serious concerns over Ms Blythyn’s dismissal.

Mr ap Iorwerth wrote to Mr Gething expressing 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.

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