Vaughan Gething Makes History: Elected First Black Leader of Wales

by Duke

Vaughan Gething, the current economic minister of Wales, secured a tight election win against Jeremy Miles to ascend as the new head of the Welsh Labour Party. This victory propels him into the role of the first minister of Wales, marking a historic moment as the first Black leader of a European nation.

Born in Zambia in 1974 to a Welsh father and Zambian mother, Gething’s family migrated to Monmouthshire, Wales, when he was two, later relocating to Dorset, England, due to racial job discrimination faced by his father. Educated at Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities, Gething embarked on a career as a trade union lawyer with Thompsons Solicitors, achieving notable milestones as the first Black president of both the Wales Trades Union Congress and the Wales National Union of Students.

Inspired by the legacy of Nelson Mandela, Gething joined the Labour Party at 17. His political journey in Wales began in 2011 when he entered the Welsh legislature, subsequently becoming the first Black minister in any devolved UK nation in 2013. Notably, he served as Wales’ health minister during the Covid-19 pandemic before assuming the role of economy minister.

In the closely contested election for Welsh Labour leader, Gething secured a narrow victory with 51.7% of the vote. In his acceptance speech, he pledged to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, as well as address challenges confronting farmers, healthcare, and education in Wales.

Gething’s confirmation by the Welsh Parliament is expected on Wednesday, marking him as Wales’ fifth first minister since the establishment of the Senedd in 1999. Reflecting on his historic win, Gething remarked, “Today we turn a page in the book of our nation’s history… a generational dial has jumped.”

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