Who’s the man set to be Wales’s next first minister?

Politics

Vaughan Gething has been elected leader of Welsh Labour – and is set to become the next Welsh first minister and first black leader of any European country.

Currently serving as minister for the economy, Mr Gething, 50, has been in politics since he was a teenager.

But he rose to prominence as health minister throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when, he told Sky News years later, “you had to make really difficult, big calls and go out and front them up on a daily basis”.

Mr Gething decribed himself during the leadership race as “experienced, engaging and ambitious”.

Vaughan Gething in 2021, when he was the health minister. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Vaughan Gething in 2021, when he was the health minister. Pic: Reuters

Mr Gething was born in Zambia, where his father, a Welsh vet, met his mother, a Zambian chicken farmer.

He has spoken in the past about experiencing prejudice, and the impact it has had on him and his family.

In the 1970s, when he was two, his family moved to Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, where his father was due to start a new job – only to find the offer withdrawn when he arrived with a black family.

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The family eventually relocated in Dorset, where he was brought up.

Set to become the nation’s first black first minister, he said: “Today we turn the page in the book of our nation’s history.

“A history that we write together.”

Early career

Mr Gething studied law at Aberystwyth University and then qualified as a solicitor at Cardiff University, having also served as the president of Wales’s National Union of Students.

His passion for politics began at a young age: he joined the Labour Party at 17 to help campaign in the 1992 elections.

Before being elected to the Senedd, he worked as a researcher to former Assembly Members Val Feld and Lorraine Barrett between 1999 and 2001.

Mr Gething became the youngest ever president of the Wales Trade Union Congress in 2008.

Elected to the Senned

Vaughan Gething upon getting elected in 2011. Pic: PA
Image:
Vaughan Gething upon getting elected in 2011. Pic: PA

He was first elected to the Senedd in 2011 as the member for Cardiff South and Penarth.

Mr Gething joined the cabinet in 2013 as deputy minister for tackling poverty, the first black cabinet minister in any of the devolved governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

He was appointed deputy minister for health in 2014, before he took on the role of health minister in 2016.

He retained the role throughout the first year of the pandemic until he was made economy minister.

The government’s COVID response currently the subject of an ongoing public inquiry.

This was the second time he ran to become leader of the Welsh Labour Party, having stood in 2018 against Mark Drakeford.

Read more from Sky News:
‘Reservations’ about new Welsh voting system
The colourful career of Wales’s outgoing first minister

Minister for the Economy of Wales, Vaughan Gething (centre) during a training session at the Al Sadd Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.
Image:
Gething (centre) during a visit to a training centre in Doha, Qatar, in 2022. Pic: PA

A ‘retired’ cricketer

He is a keen cricketer but now describes himself as “largely retired”.

While cricket is his main sporting passion, Mr Gething is also a fan of rugby and football.

But he says most of his time outside of parliament is spent with his wife and young son.

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