Wales’ first black leader loses no-confidence vote but says he won’t resign

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LONDON (AP):

The first minister of Wales, Vaughan Gething, lost a no-confidence vote in the Welsh parliament on Wednesday, less than three months after he made history as the first black leader of a government in the UK.

The opposition Conservatives called the non-binding vote in Gething, who heads Wales’ semi-autonomous administration, after weeks of criticism of his leadership and judgement in accepting a contentious campaign donation.

The result – a vote of 29-27 against the leader – was a blow to Gething, but he said he wouldn’t resign.

“I have nothing to hide,” he told lawmakers in Wales’ parliament, or Senedd, before the vote.

“I will continue to put Wales first – first in thought and deed and ambition as I serve and lead my country,” he added.

Gething’s Labour Party holds 30 of the 60 Senedd seats, and two Labour lawmakers were out sick on Wednesday, ensuring the no-confidence vote would pass. Labour has relied on support from the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru to win votes, but the parties’ cooperation arrangement collapsed last month.

Gething, the son of a Welsh father and a Zambian mother, made history in March when he was elected to head the Cardiff-based administration. He said at the time that it was “a matter of pride for a modern Wales but also a daunting responsibility for me – and one that I do not take lightly.”

During his election campaign he faced criticism for accepting £200,000 (US$255,000) in donations from a recycling company whose owner had been found guilty of environmental offences and breaching health and safety regulations. Another company with the same owner was given a loan by the government-owned Development Bank of Wales in 2023 when Gething was economy minister.

Gething has denied wrongdoing and said the donations were properly declared under electoral rules.

“I have never, ever made a decision, in more than a decade as a minister, for personal or financial gain,” Gething said Wednesday.

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