Gething wants new start after Senedd vote loss

Vaughan Gething campaigning in south Wales
Vaughan Gething says he will not resign as Wales' first minister [BBC]

Wales' first minister Vaughan Gething says he wants a "new start" after losing a vote of no confidence in the Welsh Parliament.

Mr Gething said he would not resign after 29 Senedd members voted in favour of the no-confidence motion, with 27 voting against, accusing opposition parties of "political opportunism" during a general election campaign.

The Welsh Conservatives called the vote over donations made to Mr Gething's leadership campaign by a company owned by a man previously convicted of environmental offences.

The Tories and Plaid Cymru have both called for the first minister to resign.

Mr Gething, who was campaigning in south Wales on Saturday, said: "If we can carry on and find a way through to have a new start, that’s what I’m interested in doing."

His comments come after Labour MS Jenny Rathbone said the first minister’s future looked "very uncertain" after the vote, adding that "the reputation of the Senedd is at risk" due to ongoing questions around the £200,000 donation.

Mr Gething said the party needed to be able to have "trusted conversations" with each other.

"I know it’s difficult for people in my own party - it’s been difficult for me and my family, but I need to think what’s the right thing to do for my country."

He also denied that the decision to continue was undermining the Senedd, saying the opposition parties’ decision not to allow a "pairing" process to account for the two absent Labour members was a "breach of normal convention".

"I’m not ignoring the vote. I realise though, there was a formal process to go through, and that wasn’t the choice that was made," he said.

With 30 MSs in the 60-seat chamber, Labour does not have an overall majority in the Senedd and could now face difficulties passing financial plans and legislation if opposition parties refuse to cooperate.

Vaughan Gething in tears in the Senedd
Vaughan Gething was seen in tears in the Senedd ahead of the vote [PA Media]

Mr Gething said "there is a choice now whether the country can function, whether government can function, whether the Senedd can function".

"Are we prepared to stop the whole institution from working based on the immediate politics of the general election? I don’t think that’s the right thing to do."

Tom Giffard, Conservative MS for South Wales West , accused Mr Gething of "ignoring" what the Senedd, and the Welsh people, were saying to him, describing it as "very arrogant".

He said the Labour group was "weak and divided", adding Mr Gething could not control it, likely leading to legislation not being passed.

"There’s two ways we can break the impasse. Either Vaughan Gething has to resign, or we should call a Senedd election," he said.

But Mr Giffard said the Conservatives would not rule out working with Mr Gething in the future, particularly when it came to passing budgets.

"I think it’s unlikely that we would work – even find agreement quite frankly – on most issues," he said, adding the Conservatives were "always happy to work for the betterment of the people of Wales".

Plaid Cymru’s Mabon ap Gwynfor, MS for Dwyfor Meirionydd, accused Mr Gething of acting with "contempt" towards the Senedd.

"The Senedd elects the first minister, and in this instance the first minister has lost the confidence of the Senedd, therefore he should respect that.

"His refusal to step down shows contempt to the Senedd and to the people of Wales and he should consider his position," he said.

But Mr ap Gwynfor said Plaid Cymru would also consider cooperating with Labour "on a case-by-case basis" for passing budgets and legislation.