Mark Drakeford has today announced his intention to resign as First Minister of Wales effective March 2024.  We share his statement in full below:

 

I have today formally notified the chair of the Welsh Executive Committee of my intention to stand down as Leader of Welsh Labour in March 2024.

When I stood for the leadership, I said that, if elected, I would serve for five years.

Exactly five years have passed since I was confirmed as First Minister in 2018.

Nominations for my successor as Welsh Labour Leader will open shortly.

The process will be concluded by the end of the Spring term, to enable the name of the winner to be put to the Senedd before the Easter recess.

In the meantime, I remain your First Minister. We have a busy few months ahead of us – full of major events and challenges, which I will be fully focused on:

  • A child poverty strategy

  • The final report of the independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales

  • The future of steel-making in Wales

  • The conclusion of consultations about making council tax fairer and the reform of the school year

  • Module 2B of the Covid-19 UK Inquiry

  • Co-operation Agreement commitments to deliver

  • And a Budget to pass.

There will be plenty of time for political obituaries and retrospection once I cease to be First Minister.

But not before.

In a five-year period, which has seen Wales deal with austerity, Brexit, the covid pandemic, the climate crisis, wars in Ukraine and the Middle East and four different Prime Ministers – so far – there will be lots to reflect on.

For now, I will continue to deliver on the promises we made to people across Wales.

The next Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister will, I hope, have the opportunity, which has not come my way, to work with a newly-elected Labour Government in London.

I will work as hard as I can to see that Labour Government elected.

It has been a huge privilege to lead both the Welsh Labour 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.

None of that would have been possible without the consistent support and enormous hard work of my talented Cabinet colleagues and successive Labour groups.

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.

That journey begins today.

Image credit: Flickr shared under cc 2.0