Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford resigns with immediate effect triggering contest to replace him

13 December 2023, 11:20 | Updated: 13 December 2023, 11:48

Mark Drakeford has resigned
Mark Drakeford has resigned. Picture: LBC/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford has resigned.

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The Welsh Labour leader has announced he will stand down immediately.

A leadership contest for a new first minister will be now be held.

Mr Drakeford said there would be time for political obituaries once he had left office and he would remain "fully focused" on the job until he steps down.

"I wish Mark well as he stands down from the helm," Mr Drakeford said.

"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.

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

"Labour politicians jockeying for the role of first minister must not detract from this."

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The Labour politician, 69, has been Wales' leader since December 2018. The new leader will be the fifth since Welsh devolution was introduced in 1999.

He said he hoped his replacement could be brought in before Easter 2024.

Mark Drakeford
Mark Drakeford. Picture: Getty

Mr Drakeford was first elected to the Senedd in 2011 as the Member for Cardiff West.

He served in various ministerial roles from 2013 under the leadership of Carwyn Jones, before succeeding him as First Minister and Welsh Labour leader in 2018.

Mr Drakeford insisted he still had a lot to achieve over the coming months and there would be "plenty of time for political obituaries and retrospection once I've ceased to be First Minister, but not before".

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