Uncertain Vaughan Gething can stay on - Labour MS

Vaughan Gething
Vaughan Gething lost a confidence vote on Wednesday [Reuters]

A Labour politician has said she does not know if Vaughan Gething can carry on as first minister after he lost a confidence vote.

Jenny Rathbone, MS for Cardiff Central, said it was a "very uncertain environment and we'll have to wait and see".

Her comments came ahead of a meeting of the Welsh Parliament's group of Labour politicians, which BBC Wales has been told will take place virtually on Friday.

It is not clear why the meeting has been called but there has been some disquiet within the group after Mr Gething lost the vote on Wednesday, when two of his MSs were absent through illness.

The group normally meets on a Tuesday morning in the Senedd.

The last time it met on a Friday was following the fall out from Plaid Cymru pulling out of the cooperation agreement with the Labour-run Welsh government.

Despite calls to quit from the opposition, Mr Gething has refused to resign.

The vote followed months of rows caused by the donation to Mr Gething's leadership campaign of £200,000 from Dauson Environmental Group, owned by a man previously convicted of illegally dumping waste.

Ms Rathbone told BBC Radio Wales Drive that the "reputation of the Senedd is at risk" and that accepting money from people convicted of environmental offences "is a problem".

She said the issue had been raised on the doorstep during the general election campaign.

Asked if Mr Gething could brush off the defeat and carry on as before, she said: "I don't know. It's a very uncertain environment. We'll have to wait and see."

"It is uncomfortable because we've all been dragged into this," she said.

Pressed on whether the first minister had the confidence of the Senedd, Ms Rathbone added: "Well, he lost the vote. That's on the public record. I think you'd have to address your remarks to him."

Ms Rathbone had offered to lend Mr Gething money so he could repay the controversial donations made to his campaign.

Mr Gething has declined to repay the cash.

In an earlier interview she said: “I don’t think it is wise to be taking money from a convicted criminal, and therefore I think it’s important that we enable this money to be repaid if that is what Vaughan Gething wishes to do."

A party colleague, Vikki Howells, said on Thursday it would have been a breach of the ministerial code for Mr Gething to have taken such a loan.