Mark Drakeford: First minister of Wales announces resignation | UK News

Mark Drakeford, who turns 70 next September, has been first minister of Wales since 2018. His successor will be announced by Easter, he confirmed.

By Tomos Evans, Wales reporter @TomosGruffydd

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced his resignation.

Mr Drakeford made the announcement in the Senedd on Wednesday morning five years to the day since he was first elected as leader of Welsh Labour.

He had already indicated he would step aside during the current Senedd term and that he would not be standing as a member at the next election.

Mr Drakeford, who turns 70 next September, has been a member of the Senedd for Cardiff West since 2011.

His resignation comes a day after he launched a ministerial code probe into one of his government’s ministers at her request.

His successor as first minister will be announced by the Easter recess.

In a statement in the members’ balcony, Mr Drakeford said nominations to elect his successor would open shortly.

He said it had been a “huge privilege” to lead his party and the Welsh government.

“I have also had the enormous fortune to have played a part in Welsh politics during the first quarter century of devolution,” he said.

“Now it is time to look forward to the next five years across the UK and to the next 25 years of devolution in Wales.”

He said he hoped his successor would have the opportunity to “work with a newly-elected Labour government in London”.

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Jo Stevens, said Mr Drakeford had “epitomised public service and public duty throughout his time as first minister”.

“His remarkable stewardship of Wales through the horror of the pandemic being the most obvious example,” she added.

“As Mark ends his term as Welsh Labour Leader, I thank him for his leadership, his friendship and his outstanding contribution to Wales.”

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, the largest opposition party in the Senedd, sent his well wishes to Mr Drakeford.

“While we may have different visions for Wales, I know I’m joined by colleagues in holding a huge amount of respect for his dedication to the job of first minister,” he said.

“It’s important, however, with this announcement that there is no distraction from the really important job of delivering for the people of Wales.”

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Rhun ap Iorwerth, leader of Plaid Cymru, which is part of a cooperation agreement with the Labour government in Cardiff, paid tribute to the “tone of his leadership through the pandemic”.

“When he took office, the first minister spoke of the opportunities that came with the position of leading the Welsh government,” he said.

“Regrettably, those opportunities have been squandered, resulting in longer waiting lists, falling educational standards and a stagnant economy.”


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