Donations, Covid Evidence, and a Ministerial Sacking Pile Pressure on Vaughan Gething

May 27, 2024
R&WS Research Team
GB Politics | GB Public Figures | UK Politics

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It has been a rocky start to Vaughan Gething’s leadership of Welsh Labour and of the Welsh Government.

Questions were raised during his successful campaign for the Labour leadership over his decision to accept a £200,000 donation from a business run by a man twice convicted of illegally dumping waste on a conservation site.

Far from his victory in that contest ending the controversy, calls for Gething to return the money have only grown in the two months since. His opponent in the Labour leadership election, Jeremy Miles, said he personally would have refused the donation, and Gething has faced continued pressure from the opposition to return the money.

The Welsh public overwhelmingly agrees with those calls. In a poll conducted on 18-19 May in partnership with WalesOnline, we find that 70% of Welsh voters agree that Gething should return the money—something he has thus far rejected—while only 9% disagree.

A clear majority (58%) of Welsh voters would also support an independent inquiry being established to investigate the donation. Only 15% would oppose the establishment of such an inquiry.

As to what Gething himself should do, a plurality of 38% of Welsh voters think Gething should return the donation and resign as First Minister

36% believe Gething should return the donation, but remain as First Minister, while only 12% think Gething should keep the donation and remain in office.

Gething has also faced opposition to his decision to sack the Minister for Social Partnership, Hannah Blythyn, after alleging that she leaked messages from a WhatsApp group that included Vaughan Gething to the media. Blythyn denies the allegation.

Only 16% support Gething’s decision to sack Blythyn, while 34% disapprove of his decision to do so.

The leaked messages appear to contradict Gething’s evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry that he was unable to produce WhatsApp messages from his time as Health Minister during the pandemic because the Senedd’s IT Department had wiped his messages while performing maintenance on his Senedd-issued phone.

Opposition parties have called for Gething to reappear before the UK Covid Inquiry to clarify his earlier evidence.60% of voters in Wales—including a majority (62%) of Labour voters at the last Senedd election—would now support Gething being asked to return to provide further testimony to the UK Covid Inquiry.

Citing concerns about the £200,000 donation to Vaughan Gething’s leadership campaign and the sacking of Hannah Blythyn, Plaid Cymru last week withdrew from their partnership agreement with Welsh Labour in the Senedd, under which the party agreed to back the Labour Government on certain motions.

43% of Welsh voters support Plaid Cymru ending their partnership agreement with Welsh Labour, while 12% oppose them doing so. Among those who voted for Plaid at the last Senedd election, 54% support, and only 10% oppose, the party ending its partnership agreement with Labour.

All this controversy has served to drive Gething’s personal approval ratings into deeply negative territory. Our latest Welsh Voting Intention poll, released last week, sees the First Minister’s personal approval rating drop 27-points in a month to now stand at -17%.

It remains to be seen what further ramifications these controversies will have and whether they might impact the General Election campaign in Wales.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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