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U.K. Health Minister Caught Swearing About Colleague During Zoom Call After Not Realizing Mic Was Still On

Vaughan Gething (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Wales' health minister was heard swearing about a colleague during a virtual sitting of the Welsh Assembly when he accidentally left his microphone on.


Vaughan Gething later apologized and said he was "obviously embarrassed" about the blunder, made as he finished answering questions during a session being held by Zoom.

He referred to Jenny Rathbone, Assembly Member for Cardiff Central, and said to an unknown person:

"What the f*** is the matter with her?"

Ms. Rathbone, who had been asking questions about the Welsh Government's response to to the pandemic, was seen getting up from her seat and walking away from the camera.

Some assembly members could be seen laughing and putting their hands over their mouths as Mr. Gething made the comments.

Presiding officer Elin Jones told Mr. Gething to turn his microphone off.

After the session, Mr. Gething posted on Twitter:

"I'm obviously embarrassed about my comments at the end of questions today."
"I've sent a message apologizing and offered to speak to Jenny Rathbone if she wishes to do so."
"It is an unwelcome distraction at a time of unprecedented challenge."

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said:

"The minister has contacted the member concerned to apologize."

Earlier, Mr. Gething had faced criticism from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was standing in for Boris Johnson during Prime Minister's Questions.

The Foreign Secretary said Mr. Gething had "abandoned" the Welsh Government's target of conducting 5,000 coronavirus tests per day.

Following the Zoom call, the leaders of opposition parties Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservatives called for Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford to sack Mr. Gething immediately.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said:

"He does not have the right attitude, skills or temperament to lead the government's response to the pandemic."
"To maintain public confidence, the First Minister needs to relieve him of these responsibilities with immediate effect."

Paul Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, tweeted:

"Politicians are entitled to ask serious and challenging questions of ministers and it's essential that they are able to do so during this pandemic."
"For a Health Minister to show such unprofessionalism and disdain at this time is completely unacceptable and he should be sacked."