Posted: Wed 22nd Apr 2020

Calls for Health Minister Vaughan Gething to be relieved of duties following sweary outburst during Zoom meeting

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 22nd, 2020

Calls have been made for the Welsh Health Minister to be relieved of his duties following a sweary outburst during a meeting on Zoom. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Minister Vaughan Gething was heard criticising Labour colleague Jenny Rathbone AM during today’s virtual Senedd plenary meeting after accidentally leaving his microphone unmuted. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

It attracted some animated reactions from other ministers and Plaid Cymru’s leader Adam Price has asked the First Minister to relieve him of his post “with immediate effect”. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The Welsh Government has already come in for criticism this week after dropping its 5,000 daily testing target for Covid-19. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Mr Price said: “He has not only failed over the last month several times, he has failed to acknowledge that he has failed and aggressively attacks even those within his own party who question him. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“He does not have the right attitude, skills or temperament to lead the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“To maintain public confidence the First Minister needs to relieve him of these responsibilities with immediate effect. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“There are experienced members on the First Minister’s backbenchers who could be brought into Government to fill any vacuum.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

In footage of today’s meeting, Mr Gething appears to say: “What the f*** is she doing?” in reference to his colleague. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

It followed Ms Rathbone asking him about comments made by a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, who accused the Welsh and UK governments of a “dereliction of duty” for failing to make better use of assistance to address testing and equipment shortages. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Sir Martin Evans said every resource should be used against coronavirus, but claimed an offer of help from Cardiff University had gone unanswered. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Ms Rathbone said the government should not “shoot the messenger” after Mr Gething admitted there were only “days worth” of personal protective equipment available in Wales earlier this week. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

She expressed her belief that the country should be “self sufficient” in creating PPE and also challenged him on when home testing would be rolled out. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The Health Minister said he had contacted Ms Rathbone to apologise following his outburst. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Posting on Twitter, Vaughan Gething said: “I’m obviously embarrassed about my comments at the end of questions today. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“I’ve sent a message apologising and offered to speak to Jenny Rathbone if she wishes to do so. It is an unwelcome distraction at a time of unprecedented challenge.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

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