Mark Drakeford resigns as First Minster of Wales as popularity hits 18-month low

Mark Drakeford announces he's stepping down as Welsh Labour leader

Mark Drakeford has announced he is standing down as Welsh First Minister.

The Labour politician, who has been Wales’ leader since December 2018, said he hoped his replacement could be in place before Easter next year.

At a news conference in Cardiff, he said: “When I stood for election as leader of Welsh Labour, I said I would stand down during the current Senedd term. That time has now come.”

Mr Drakeford’s poll ratings have taken a hit in recent months and he has come under criticism for policies including Wales’s new 20mph speed limit.

A YouGov poll of 1,004 Welsh voters for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University earlier this month found his popularity is at an 18-month low, with 56 percent believing he is doing a bad job of being First Minister.

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies said: “I wish Mark well as he stands down from the helm.

“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.”

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.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer previously said Mr Drakeford’s administration was the “blueprint for what Labour could do in government across the UK”.

He was speaking at the Welsh Labour conference in 2022.

But he declined to repeat the claim ahead of this year’s Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

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