Welsh leader Gething loses symbolic no confidence vote

Vaughan Gething, leader of the semi-autonomous Welsh government, has lost a non-binding vote of confidence but defied pressure to resign despite the blow to his authority.

Gething, who has faced a turbulent 77 days in office, has been criticised over the source of a political donation, the transparency of his disclosures to the COVID-19 inquiry from his time as health minister and his decision to dismiss a minister after accusing her of leaking.

The First Minister of Wales previously denied any wrongdoing over donations.

Wednesday's motion, put forward by the Welsh Conservative Party, cited all three issues as reasons to have no confidence in Gething as first minister.

It passed by 29 votes to 27 but is technically non-binding and does not automatically trigger his resignation or the collapse of the government.

"Obviously it's a very disappointing afternoon," Gething told reporters.

"I'm here proud to be the first minister of Wales, to serve and lead my country. That's what I've done today, it's what I'll carry on doing."

The Labour Party-run Welsh government has responsibility for policy areas including health and education while others such as defence and energy policy are set by the Conservative Party-led government in London.

Gething, who at one point during the debate on the no-confidence vote was seen wiping away tears as one of his colleagues spoke in support of him, said he regretted that his integrity had been called into question.

"I have never, ever made a decision in more than a decade as a minister for personal or financial gain," he said.

He went on to challenge his opponents to table a formal no-confidence motion.

Labour holds half the seats in the Welsh Senedd and could therefore have blocked Wednesday's motion - and any future formal bid to topple the government - but with two representatives absent through illness Gething did not have enough votes.

Gething criticised other parties for not agreeing to arrangements which are normally used to cancel out the effect of politicians absent through illness.