Health Minister 'Embarrassed' After Being Caught Swearing at Colleague in Zoom Conference Call in Wales

The Welsh Health Minister is "embarrassed" after he was heard swearing about a colleague in a conference call hosted on Zoom.

Cardiff South and Penarth Assembly Member (AM) Vaughan Gething was heard swearing about the Labour AM for Cardiff Central Jenny Rathbone on Wednesday after he left his microphone on during an online Welsh Assembly session.

The health minister said he has since apologized for his remarks and offered to speak with his party colleague about the matter.

Complaining about Rathbone off camera while his microphone was still live, Gething said: "Right at the end, it's like 'what the f*** is the matter with her?'"

We have the first great Parliamentary Zoom disaster, courtesy of @vaughangething in the Welsh Assembly

— Alain Tolhurst (@Alain_Tolhurst) April 22, 2020

Several members reacted to his rant on the Zoom call by clasping their hands over their mouths, covering their eyes and laughing at the hot mic.

"I think Vaughan Gething needs to turn his microphone off," Welsh Assembly Presiding Officer Elin Jones said. "Vaughan Gething needs to turn his microphone off."

In a statement on his Zoom outburst, Gething tweeted: "I'm obviously embarrassed about my comments at the end of questions today.

"I've sent a message apologizing and offered to speak to @JennyRathbone if she wishes to do so. It is an unwelcome distraction at a time of unprecedented challenge."

The BBC reported that Rathbone had urged the country to produce more personal protective equipment (PPE) in her remarks to the health minister.

The Cardiff Central AM told Newsweek Gething called to apologize yesterday, adding that she accepted his apology. She declined to make any further comment.

At the time of writing, Rathbone has not tweeted about the incident or issued a statement on her colleague's outburst.

Although some Welsh assembly members laughed off Gething's outburst, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price sought the minister's resignation.

"The Welsh Health Minister aggressively attacking his own party colleague who was raising legitimate concerns raised by a Welsh Nobel Prize winner shows why he is not the man for this vital job" he tweeted on Wednesday. "To maintain public confidence he surely has to go."

He added that the swearing off-mic was "forgivable" but not "the utter contempt which the Health Minister has shown towards scrutiny."

The former Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew R.T. Davies also argued that Gething's rant could constitute a "ministerial code breach" as clips of the incident went viral.

"In normal times you might expect him to go, but these are far from normal times," Davies added.

The Welsh Deputy Economy & Transport Minister Lee Waters defended his cabinet colleague on Twitter, but also posted: "Useful lesson from working in radio is that every microphone is potentially a live one."

According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, more than 134,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed across the U.K., along with 18,151 deaths.

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething
Vaughan Gething ahead of a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra to discuss the coronavirus response on March 16, 2020 in London, England. Gething has been caught in a "hot mic" moment, swearing about a colleague during a Zoom conference Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.