Jeremy Corbyn congratulates Mark Drakeford after he wins Welsh Labour leadership to become next first minister

Posted On: 
6th December 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has congratulated Mark Drakeford after he won the Welsh Labour leadership contest to become the next first minister of the country.

Mark Drakeford is to become the next leader of the Welsh Labour party and the next leader of the Welsh government
PA Images

The Welsh finance minister defeated Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan in the contest to succeed Carwyn Jones, who announced his intention to stand down earlier this year.

Mr Drakeford, who had been the frontrunner after winning the bulk of nominations from assembly members and constituencies, won 53.9% in the second round of voting, against 41.4% for Mr Gething.

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It came after no candidate hit the 50% mark in the first round, with Mr Drakeford taking 46.9%, Mr Gething 30.8% and Ms Morgan 23.3%.

Mr Drakeford is set to be confirmed as first minister on Wednesday after Mr Jones tenders his resignation to the Queen on Tuesday.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn said: "I would like to congratulate Mark Drakeford AM on his election as leader of the Welsh Labour party. 

“As leader and as first minister, I am confident that Mark will demonstrate what Labour in government can achieve by building a more equal society, even in the face of the Conservatives’ callous austerity agenda and cuts to the Welsh budget...

“I am looking forward to working with Mark as he builds on this legacy, to deliver his bold plan for jobs, investment and pioneering proposals for a modern, low carbon economy, run in the interests of the many, not the few.”

Mr Drakeford told delegates: "This afternoon I dedicate all the strength and the energy, and the commitment that I can bring to the essential common task in which together we create a Welsh Labour party and a Wales which is a beacon of hope in a darkening world and a future that works for the many in our society and not simply a privileged few.”

Mr Gething told ITV Wales it was now time to "unite behind the leader and get on delivering for Wales," while Ms Morgan said Mr Drakeford was a “wonderful person” who would do a “great job”.

Mr Jones, who has headed the Welsh government since 2009, told party delegates in April that he would be standing down to give the party and his family a “fresh start”.

The announcement came amid criticism over his handling of the death of fellow Labour assembly member and former minister Carl Sargeant.

Mr Sargeant was found hanged last November, days after being sacked from the frontbench and suspended by the party following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Corbyn said: “I thank Carwyn for his longstanding service to our party and for his unprecedented electoral success and I wish him well for the future."