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Mark Drakeford elected new Welsh Labour leader

Mark Drakeford has won the race to be the new leader of Welsh Labour and likely next First Minister.

Three candidates, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford, Health Secretary Vaughan Gething and Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Minister Eluned Morgan were all vying for the position in an election to replace Carwyn Jones who has led Welsh Labour since 2009.

Mark Drakeford the Cardiff West AM won 56.6% of the vote after the contest went to a second round, Vaughan Gething came second with 43.4%

Jones announced his intention to resign at the Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno in April 2018, he stated that he will stand down in autumn 2018, and as such he will continue to lead the party until then.

During a visit in October to Coleg Cambria in Northop while campaigning Mr Drakeford announced that – as First Minister – he would appoint a Minister for North Wales to address the ‘disconnect’ with the South.

He said: “I recognise there has always been some sense of disconnect between the North and the South. As First Minister I would appoint a Cabinet Secretary from North Wales as a Minister for North Wales and they will have the full machinery of government behind them.

I will ask that person to explore what more can be done to strengthen the bonds between the North and South, by considering an idea developed by Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham.”

Mr Drakeford said the North Wales Minister will chair a standing committee of the Cabinet, to meet regularly in North Wales.

He was backed for the leadership role by Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths and Clwyd South AM Ken Skates

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies AM, said:

 “I congratulate Mark Drakeford on his election as Labour Leader in Wales. They have a huge task ahead of him in solving the problems our nation is experiencing after decades of failure from successive Labour-led governments.

People across the country are crying out for change but I fear that the result of this election is simply going to give us more of the same. 

While Mark Drakeford has a mandate to lead from the Labour Party, he has no mandate to lead from the Welsh people; only a Welsh Assembly election will provide an opportunity for the public to endorse, or otherwise, his plans.”

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