FM's critics should look at themselves - minister

Vaughan Gething
Supporters of Vaughan Gething claimed attacks on his leadership were "racially driven" [Getty Images]

Critics of Wales' first minister should ask themselves if they are crossing a line, a Welsh government minister has said.

It comes after supporters of Vaughan Gething claimed attacks on his leadership were "racially driven".

A Welsh government source denied that Mr Gething made such comments himself.

Huw Irranca-Davies, the Welsh government's rural affairs secretary, told BBC Politics Wales that those in political office should "expect relentless forensic scrutiny".

But he added: "People have to look at themselves and say, 'am I crossing the line?'"

Huw Irranca-Davies
Huw Irranca-Davies said Mr Gething's critics needed to ask themselves if they were crossing a line [Getty Images]

Mr Gething, Europe’s first black leader of a government, has come under pressure after accepting a £200,000 donation for his leadership campaign from a company owned by a man twice convicted of environmental offences.

The Welsh Labour Black and Asian Minority Ethnic Committee said the media's treatment of Mr Gething had gone beyond "what one can reasonably call fair scrutiny".

In a statement released on X, the committee added: "There have been many moments of reflection over the last few years in which people and institutions have accepted how subconscious racial prejudice can creep into the things they do and say.

"We believe we are seeing this play out before us, and we must act to stop it".

Martin Shipton, associate editor of Nation.Cymru, told the BBC's Sunday Supplement that he felt the issue was "a complete red herring" that had been "brought in an attempt to save Mr Gething further embarrassment and indeed his job".

Mr Shipton said Mr Gething "must expect to be held to account", adding: "Suggesting there is some racial motive is dragging something in which is completely irrelevant for which there is no evidence."

A Welsh government spokesperson said Mr Gething was not available for comment.

Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth said that while he had "no doubt" that Mr Gething had experienced racism in his life, it was important for him to clarify "that they don't for a second think that the firm scrutiny, by myself and colleagues, of the first minister has been anything other than scrutiny of his actions and of his judgement and precisely nothing to do with the skin colour of anybody".

"We are serious about our roles as parliamentarians and this is what this is about and the use of language is very, very important," Mr ap Iorwerth added.

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said: "This is about the confidence people have in the first minister and his judgement.

"It is not about the Welsh Labour government, it is about the first minister and confidence and that is the question that needs to be answered."

Mr Davies said conversations about a vote of no confidence in the first minister would continue next week but that it "wasn't practical" to hold a vote next week due to "tabling arrangements".