ADAM PRICE AM has formally submitted a complaint under the Ministerial Code regarding the outburst and use of ‘derogatory language’ by the Health minister Vaughan Gething during yesterday’s virtual Senedd meeting.
Mr Price also asks the First Minister, Mark Drakeford to indicate if he intends to refer the complaint to the Independent Adviser.
Adam Price says that in view of the ‘public interest in this matter’.he is releasing into the public domain the contents of his letter to the First Minister.
The letter reads as follows:
”It is with regret that I must write to you during this ongoing public health emergency to request your intervention following the scenes witnessed at the end of questions to the Health Minister at yesterday’s virtual Senedd meeting.
There is no question that the Health Minister’s use of derogatory language during a live streamed meeting of Plenary was a clear breach of the provisions of paragraphs 1.1 and 1.2 of the Ministerial Code requiring Ministers to uphold the highest standards of propriety and professionalism, treating all those with whom they come into contact with consideration and respect.
The use of an expletive could possibly be explained, given the immense pressure that any Minister leading the governmental response to the current crisis would understandably be under. However, the aggressive tone of the attack by the Health Minister on a Member of his own party who was raising wholly legitimate concerns is representative of the Health Minister’s resistance to scrutiny and accountability in general.
This was witnessed in relation to the collapse of a written agreement which would have significantly boosted capacity for COVID-19 tests in Wales. After the Health Minister refused to disclose any details of this agreement, it fell to you as First Minister to confirm to the Senedd that this agreement was, as reported, with Roche.
Only this week in relation to this same issue, the Health Minister again failed to answer legitimate parliamentary questions about the circumstances of this collapsed deal. It is difficult to see how simply responding with the statement “I am not going into the details of the Roche deal” is consistent with paragraph 1.3iii of the Ministerial Code – requiring Ministers to be “as open as possible with the Assembly and the public” – nor does it inspire confidence in the treatment of our legislature by your administration.
We have previously raised concerns about the Health Minister’s performance and called for his resignation in light of the catastrophic failings of maternity services at Cwm Taf. We remain of the view that the Health Minister is not the right person to lead the NHS. Yesterday’s events underline why that is particularly the case now – at a time when openness and empathy is critical and when scrutiny, accountability and an ability to engage constructively with criticism are crucial in ensuring that everything possible is being done to save lives.
In order to restore public trust and confidence in your government’s response to the Coronavirus, I ask that you relieve Vaughan Gething of his duties with immediate effect.
As a formality, I would ask that you record my correspondence as a complaint under the Ministerial Code and indicate if you intend to refer the complaint to the Independent Adviser.”