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Labour leadership candidate Vaughan Gething promises public a say over 20mph speed limit

Vaughan Gething

Welsh Labour leadership contender, Vaughan Gething, would welcome public participation in the evaluation of the contentious 20mph speed limit policy.

Gething emphasised the importance of allowing the public to provide input on the controversial initiative.

Both Gething and his competitor, Jeremy Miles, commit to reviewing the policy’s implementation without intending to abolish it.

Gething officially launched his campaign, urging Labour members to elect him as the first black leader of any European nation at an event in Newport’s Tramshed Tech on Monday.

The decision on Mark Drakeford’s successor will be made by Labour members during the February and March voting period. Since September of the previous year, Wales has reduced its default speed limit in urban areas from 30mph to 20mph, with councils having the authority to exempt roads based on guidance from the Welsh government.

The government has already announced a review of the policy’s implementation, with Deputy Transport Minister Lee Waters confirming that transport adviser Phil Jones, instrumental in shaping the 20mph policy, will lead the review. This move has drawn criticism from opposition parties, who argue for the involvement of a more independent figure in the review process.

Gething, the Senedd member for Cardiff South and Penarth said: “As well as looking at the guidance, which I think is important, as well as the conversation with local government…. you’ve got to have a conversation with the public.

“It’s about what you want to do to make sure you keep taking the public with you.”

He said: “If you don’t give the public the opportunity to comment on that and then to consider it before you make a further decision, I think people will say its being done to us, not with us.”

During a hustings event last week, Mr. Gething emphasized the importance of the party’s humility, suggesting that it should be open to reflection on potential mistakes, particularly on issues like the 20mph speed limit.

He pointed to Welsh Labour’s handling of the 20mph policy as a specific instance where demonstrating humility is crucial, stating that people “want to know that you’re humble enough and decent enough to listen and to reflect if you’ve got something wrong”.

In his launch address, Vaughan Gething urged members to support his candidacy with the goal of becoming the “first black leader in any European nation.”

Speaking at the event held at Newport’s Tramshed Tech, he expressed a profound awareness of the historical significance attached to such an achievement, stating that he would “fully understand” the importance of this milestone if he were to emerge victorious.

“I know exactly what that would mean for black young boys and girls, across Wales. To see someone who would look like them in our highest office,” he said. 

“It would mean more than that too – it would mean everyone in Wales, whatever their background could see further proof that their potential can be realised here in Wales.”