Welsh Labour Leader Loses Confidence Vote in Blow to Starmer

(Bloomberg) -- First Minister of Wales Vaughan Gething lost a non-binding vote of no confidence on Wednesday, in a blow to his Labour Party which runs the devolved government.

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While the motion — tabled by the Welsh Conservative Party — will not force Gething to step down from his role, it comes at a sensitive time for Labour ahead of the UK-wide general election on July 4. Gething has come under intense pressure amid a row over donations to his leadership campaign.

“It’s really important to see this for what it is — it’s game-playing by the Conservatives,” UK Labour leader Keir Starmer told broadcasters in Portsmouth before the vote. “All Gething wants to do is to deliver for the people of Wales.”

Starmer refused to say whether Gething should resign.

Gething’s struggles date back to the leadership contest he only narrowly won to succeed former First Minister Mark Drakeford. His political opponents zeroed in on £200,000 ($254,000) of campaign donations from a company run by an individual previously prosecuted twice for environmental offenses.

The Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru ended its cooperation deal with the devolved Labour government last month, setting the stage for Wednesday’s vote. While there is no direct link between events in the Welsh parliament and the UK vote on July 4, the politics are not ideal as Starmer — whose Labour leads national polls by about 20 points — bids to become prime minister.

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