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Sacked Over Secrets: Welsh Minister Denies Leaking Controversial Text Amidst Political Turmoil



Welsh Minister Hannah Blythyn Dismissed Following Text Message Leak

Ex-Social Partnership Minister Hannah Blythyn asserts her innocence, stating, "I have always been clear that I have never leaked anything," and expressing her profound surprise at being fired. Her dismissal came after a contentious iMessage from First Minister Vaughan Gething came to light.

By Dylan Donnelly, journalist

Thursday, May 16, 2024, 4:

A minister from Wales has been dismissed following a dispute regarding the leak of a text message, which she claims she did not disclose.

First Minister Vaughan Gething stated that he was left with "no option" but to request Hannah Blythyn's departure from the Welsh government following the leak of a message from a ministerial group chat to local media.

The ex-minister of social partnership stated she has always been "clear that I have never leaked anything," expressing her "deep shock" over being fired.

This is in reference to a Nation.Cymru article that highlighted a communication from Mr. Gething dated August 2020, where he mentioned he was "deleting the messages in this group."

"The message also noted that the decision in question could be documented through a Freedom of Information request, expressing confidence that the right choice had been made."

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The head of Welsh Labour previously informed the UK COVID-19 Inquiry that missing WhatsApp messages had been erased by the IT team of the Welsh parliament during a security upgrade.

Mr. Gething refuted claims that the leaked message was about the Welsh government's handling of COVID-19, stating it originated from a group chat focused on party internal affairs.

During a full session of the investigation, he stated, "I completely dismiss the claim that I have been dishonest in the COVID-19 inquiry."

"I'm left with no other option"

In a formal announcement, Mr. Gething declared: "After examining the information presented about the recent leak of communications to the press, I am unfortunately left with no other choice but to request Hannah Blythyn's departure from the government."

He emphasized the critical need to preserve trust among government colleagues to ensure collective efforts in enhancing the lives of Welsh citizens. However, he mentioned that there remains a pathway for her to return to a governmental role in the future.

Ms. Blythyn shared on X, expressing her "saddened" feelings and stated, "integrity is everything in politics, and I maintain mine."

Discover further on Sky News: The evolution of Wales's Senedd into a 'fully-fledged parliament', Wales to reverse 20mph speed restrictions on select roads, Delay in Welsh farmer subsidy program.

Stay updated on the most recent developments from the UK and globally by tuning into Sky News.

Circumstances are nearly unparalleled

A representative from the UK COVID-19 Inquiry acknowledged that they had been informed about the disclosed message.

He mentioned that they were evaluating if Mr. Gething should submit additional details.

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Andrew RT Davies, head of the Welsh Conservative Party, labeled the circumstances as "nearly unparalleled" and urged him to swiftly demonstrate his ability to govern Wales.

Plaid Cymru's chief, Rhun ap Iorwerth, escalated the matter by stating, "The First Minister is the one who ought to be reevaluating his role."

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