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Message suggests Vaughan Gething lied to UK Covid Inquiry



VAUGHAN GETHING came under fresh pressure on Tuesday (May 7).

Wales’s First Minister, whose reputation hangs on a thread following a donations scandal, allegedly misled the UK Covid inquiry when he gave evidence in March.


Veteran reporter Martin Shipton revealed Mr Gething’s casual approach to truth in an article for Nation Cymru.

The First Minister gave evidence under oath, saying WhatsApp messages on his phone were accidentally deleted by Senedd IT staff.

However, a message leaked to Martin Shipton contradicts his account.

In a text message posted to the ministerial group chat on Monday, August 17 2020, when he was Health Minister, Mr Gething wrote: “I’m deleting the messages in this group. They can be captured in an FOI [Freedom of Information request] and I think we are all in the right place on the choice being made.”

Vaughan Gething is a solicitor. Giving apparently perjured evidence under oath to a statutory inquiry could have grave professional consequences.

The political consequences could be apocalyptic.


The interlocking issues for Mr Gething could not be more damaging.

If he lied to the Covid Inquiry under oath, his fellow MSs can have little faith that he is telling them the truth when he answers questions in the Senedd.

Secondly, it opens the door to questions about what else Welsh Government ministers and civil servants deleted for fear its content could embarrass them or be subject to disclosure later. For the avoidance of doubt, any other current or former ministers in the group chat who heard Mr Gething plead innocence and ignorance and stayed silent are also in the soup.

Moreover, the message’s leak from a ministerial WhatsApp group suggests its source is within Labour ranks in the Senedd and was either a group member or a person connected to a group member.

Finally, the content of the message makes it clear that messages were deliberately deleted to avoid being captured by a potential Freedom of Information Act request at a future date.

And it was Mr Gething who made the deletions on that basis.


The First Minister cannot plead ignorance.

On March 11, the lead Counsel for the Covid Inquiry questioned him about the missing messages.

Tom Poole KC said: “You would accept, would you, that it’s not just important to retain records for an Inquiry of this nature but it is important for public accountability?”

Mr Gething responded: “Indeed, it’s important the public can see not just the choices we made but why we have made those choices.”

The Senedd’s Presiding Officer was inadvertently caught up in Mr Gething’s cover-up.
The day after Mr Gething gave evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry, the Conservative leader, Andrew RT Davies, raised the messages’ loss.

Elin Jones MS intervened to say that she hoped Mr Davies was not criticising Senedd IT staff.

Neither Mr Davies nor Ms Jones could have known that Mr Gething had gone out of his way to delete messages because he did not want them revealed to the public.

Mr Gething never corrected the record or his evidence.

His discomfiture follows that of former First Minister Mark Drakeford, who denied using WhatsApp messages and only corrected the record when it was found he had.


Covid Families for Justice Cymru said they wanted Mr Gething recalled to give evidence to Baroness Hallett’s Inquiry, adding: “We look forward to hearing the response from the UK Covid Inquiry to the news Vaughan Gethin deleted his ministerial messages.

“He said under oath that he had not.

“He might not have known there was a disappearing message function, but he definitely knew how to delete texts manually. They were a public record that could be published under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request!

“Which is exactly why he deleted them. The other ministers in the chat are complicit, too.”


Andrew RT Davies MS, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, also called for Mr Gething’s recall by Baroness Hallett.

He said: “The cloak and dagger decision-making in the Labour Welsh Government is clear.

“Decisions made in these WhatsApp groups have led to lives lost and businesses shut.

“Evidence suggesting that the First Minister deliberately deleted important exchanges makes it obvious why Labour has blocked an independent Wales-specific COVID inquiry.

“In light of this, there is an even more compelling case for a COVID inquiry for Wales.”


Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “The revelation that Vaughan Gething, as the former Health Minister of Wales, deliberately deleted messages at the height of the pandemic strikes a devastating blow to those who lost loved ones and who, like us in Plaid Cymru, have long called for a Welsh inquiry to investigate Government decisions.

“We all sought transparency but were told everything was available for the UK Inquiry to see; this undermines any belief that that is the case.

“It shows blatant disregard for honesty and transparency, further undermining trust in the Labour First Minister following his donations scandal.

“The leaked message shows that the Welsh Labour Cabinet was complicit in allowing this deception.

“As chair of the Inquiry, Baroness Hallett should immediately recall Vaughan Gething to clarify what he said under oath.

“Vaughan Gething is running away from an independent investigation into a donation to his Labour leadership campaign but must not be allowed to dodge an investigation into this extremely serious matter.”


Angle RNLI tasked to two simultaneous incidents



AT 4:27PM on Friday (Jun 21) the All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch following a VHF call from a 28ft vessel with a fouled propeller in the Longoar Bay/Butts Bay Area.

There were other vessels in the area safety boating a sailing race but due to the weather conditions they were unable to assist.

The lifeboat launched shortly after and began making best speed to the vessel but only minutes later the crew were requested to divert to another incident. The Coastguard had received a 999 call reporting a person cut off by the tide and possibly despondent near the old mining depot and the entrance to Castle Pill. With this, Tenby All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to assist with the initial incident and Milford Haven Port Authority patrol vessel Dynevor was also proceeding.

A local fishing vessel had made the call and was on scene attempting to communicate with the person. Soon after, the first informant lost sight of the person. Soon after, the lifeboat arrived on scene and after a brief discussion with the fisherman a search was commenced. The Y boat was deployed to head into Castle Pill to attempt to get a visual of the person if they had rejoined the path back to the main road.

At this point, Dale Coastguard Rescue team and the police were tasked to assist. Shortly after, the fisherman reported catching sight of the casualty through a gap in the hedge, making his was back up the road towards Black Bridge. Following this information, and with the first informant confident that this was the person he saw earlier the lifeboat was stood down to return to the previous incident.

After recovering the Y boat the lifeboat began making best speed back down towards Longoar Bay. Arriving on scene, and following a quick assessment it became clear that the casualty vessels anchor was potentially dragging. A tow was swiftly passed to the vessel and their anchor recovered.

With the tow set, the crew began towing the vessel back to Milford Marina.

Arriving off the entrance to the Milford Docks channel, the tow was dropped and the vessel transferred into an alongside tow and taken into the marina. After safely securing the vessel on the fuel pontoon, the lifeboat and her crew were stood down to return to station where she was readied for further service shortly after.

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Tragic death of eight-month-old girl leaves family in mourning



THE HEARTBROKEN grandfather of Mabli Cariad Hall, the eight-month-old girl who tragically died after her pram was struck by a car, has spoken of the enduring pain his family faces. Mabli was hit by a white BMW outside the entrance to Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest on 21 June 2023. She succumbed to severe traumatic brain injury at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children four days later.

Speaking to the BBC this week, Paul Sambrook, Mabli’s grandfather, expressed the family’s profound grief, stating it would take years before things felt “even half right”. Speaking outside Withybush Hospital, he said, “We’re a large family, we’re a close family, and to see everyone in the family go through the same pain is a very difficult thing to bear.”

He continued, “As a grandfather, the older member of the family, you mourn several times over. You mourn for the loss of your granddaughter but then you mourn for the loss of happiness that everyone else had.”

Describing Mabli as “full of fun” with “a lovely laugh” and a “light in her eyes,” Mr Sambrook lamented the loss of her future. “She would’ve been a character, without a doubt. She was a character. I think that’s the awful tragedy. The loss of a life is one thing, the loss of the lifetime is the thing that hurts more.”

He shared fond memories of Mabli, recalling how she would distract him while he worked from home. “Very often she’d come and sit on my knee, while I was trying to work, and help me type various things. We’d end up watching some nursery rhymes or some dancing fruit. In the end, I’d give up trying to work. We used to have a lot of fun.”

In the wake of the tragedy, a purple heart has become a motif for the family, symbolising their love and loss. Mr Sambrook expressed gratitude for the support they have received, saying, “It’s been an inspiration despite the sadness.”

Mabli’s parents, Gwen and Rob Hall from Neath, laid tributes near the spot where their daughter was fatally injured. Supported by friends and family, they placed flowers, teddy bears, lights, and cards in her memory at a tree near the hospital entrance. The family also attended a private memorial service at the hospital.

At the opening of the inquest into her death, the family released a statement describing their pain and grief as “indescribable”. They said, “During this terribly painful time, we still have no answer to the central question we inevitably ask regarding the tragic loss of our beautiful baby girl.”

The driver of the BMW, along with their passenger and a pedestrian who was also hit, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospital. Dyfed-Powys Police have stated that the investigation is ongoing and that specialist officers continue to support the family. No arrests have been made.

Hywel Dda Health Board’s Chief Executive, Prof Philip Kloer, extended his condolences, saying, “Our thoughts and sympathies are with Mabli’s family at this time, she will always be remembered by us.”

As the family grapples with their grief, they find solace in the memories of Mabli’s short yet joyful life, while the community continues to offer its support during this heartbreaking time.

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West Wales firm fined £75,000 after man killed by escaped cow



A WEST WALES company has been fined £75,000 following the death of a 75-year-old man, Huw Evans, who was killed by a cow that had escaped from a livestock market. The incident occurred on November 19, 2022, at Whitland Livestock Market in Carmarthenshire, operated by J.J. Morris Limited.

Father-of-two Mr Evans was crossing the junction at North Road and West Street in Whitland when the cow, which was being auctioned, escaped from the market pen. The animal attacked Mr Evans, knocking him down and trampling him. He suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, where he succumbed to his injuries six days later.

A worker from J.J. Morris Limited was also injured during an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the cow. The cow eventually made its way towards Whitland Rugby Club and a railway line before being subdued and put down by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the incident and found that J.J. Morris Limited had failed to implement essential physical control measures to prevent cattle from escaping. The HSE concluded that the company’s risk assessment was inadequate, referencing control measures that were not in place at the market.

J.J. Morris Limited, based in Haverfordwest, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £5,047.55 in costs by Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 20.

In court, Mr Evans’ son, Dafydd, expressed his grief, saying: “Dad was my best friend, and I miss him terribly. He was taken from us too soon. Losing dad has had a tremendous effect on both myself and my brother. Because of this incident, dad’s grandsons will never fully know him personally, and he will not see them grow up.”

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Rhys Hughes remarked, “This tragic incident was foreseeable and preventable. The risk posed by cattle escaping from the livestock mart should have been identified, and effective control measures implemented. The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance, which is readily accessible and outlines the requirements to safely manage cattle.”

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