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Vaughan Gething Becomes First Black Leader of a European Country

Vaughan Gething, who currently serves as the Economic Minister of Wales, has been elected as the new leader of the Welsh Labour Party. His victory marks a historic milestone as he becomes the first ever Black person to lead a European country.

Early Life and Background

Gething was born in Zambia in 1974 to a Welsh father and Zambian mother. His family moved to Wales when he was two but later resettled in England due to job discrimination against his father. He attended Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities and worked as a trade union lawyer. Gething became the first Black president of both the Wales Trades Union Congress and the Wales National Union of Students.

Political Journey

Gething joined the Welsh legislature in 2011 and became the first Black minister in any devolved UK country in 2013. He served as Wales’ health minister during the Covid-19 pandemic and recently as its economy minister. In a close election, Gething won 51.7% of the vote to become the new leader of Welsh Labour.

Priorities as First Minister

As the new First Minister of Wales, Gething plans to address the cost-of-living crisis, challenges facing farmers, and issues with the healthcare and education systems. He will be confirmed by the Welsh Parliament (Senedd) and will become Wales’ fifth first minister since the Senedd’s establishment in 1999.

Diversity in UK Leadership

Gething’s election marks a significant milestone in representation and diversity. Non-white leaders now head three of the four major governments in the United Kingdom, including:

  • Rishi Sunak, of Indian heritage, as the U.K. Prime Minister
  • Humza Yousaf, of Pakistani heritage, as the Scottish First Minister
  • Vaughan Gething, of Zambian heritage, as the First Minister of Wales

Wales: A Devolved Nation

Wales is one of the three countries that make up the island of Great Britain, along with England and Scotland. It is part of the United Kingdom, which consists of four countries: Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

While previously ruled by the UK government, Wales now has its own government and parliament (Senedd Cymru) responsible for making laws and decisions that affect the people of Wales.

Vaughan Gething’s election as the First Minister of Wales represents a significant step forward in promoting diversity and representation in leadership roles across Europe and the United Kingdom.

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