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    5. Mark Drakeford steps down as First Minister of Wales


    Mark Drakeford steps down as First Minister of Wales

    Mark Drakeford has announced he will resign by Easter Photo: Bronwen Weatherby/PA

    Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced his resignation resigned from his post amid criticism from coalition partners over his controversial plans for a 20mph speed limit.

    The 69-year-old Labor politician, who has led Wales since 2018, said “the time has come”. for your care.

    At a press conference in Cardiff, he said he would remain First Minister until his successor is chosen by Easter.

    This comes after Rhun ap Iorweth, the new leader of Plaid Cymru, is in coalition with Labor in Wales, has called on the Government to rethink the 20mph speed limit in certain areas where it is “unreasonable”.

    Mr Drakeford's poll ratings have fallen sharply and the policy has been criticized.

    He was first elected to the Senedd in 2011 as member for Cardiff West.

    He has served in various ministerial capacities since 2013 under Carwyn Jones and then succeeded him as First Minister and leader of the Labor Party Wales in 2018.

    Mark Drakeford arrives at a polling station in Poncann with his late wife Claire in 2022. Photo: MATTHEW HORWOOD/GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

    Mr Drakeford insisted he still had a lot to achieve in the coming months and that he would have “plenty of time for political obituaries and retrospectives once I am no longer First Minister, but not before.”

    But he added: “Over a five-year period in which Wales has faced 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 a lot to think about.”

    Until he leaves office, he said he will “continue to be fully focused on delivering on the promises we made to people across Wales at the last Senedd election.”

    “I hope the next Welsh leader and The first minister will have an opportunity that I did not have, namely to work with the newly elected Labor government in London. And I will work as hard as I can to get a Labor government elected.”

    A YouGov poll of 1,004 Welsh voters for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University carried out earlier this month showed Mr Drakeford's popularity was at an 18-month low, with 56 per cent saying he was doing a poor job.

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wished the outgoing First Minister “all the best as he ends many years of public service.”

    “We will continue to work closely with the Welsh Government to develop our joint work to improve opportunities for people across Wales,” Mr Sunak said.

    Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the UK Labor Party, said that Mr Drakeford was a “titan” of Welsh politics.

    “Mark set a clear standard of public service in British politics, always putting others before himself,” Sir Keir said.

    “In his five years as First Minister, despite austerity, Westminster instability and the fight against a pandemic, he has acted in the interests of Wales with steely determination and calm authority.

    “Above all, Mark – a kind person. and a decent man who lives his Labor values.

    “A proud Welshman, Wales can also be proud of Mark for his fight for working people. He is a true titan of Welsh and Labor politics. It was a pleasure working with him and we all wish him all the best in his retirement.”

    Sir Keir Starmer said Mark Drakeford (right) was a “titan”. Welsh language and Labour's politics Photo: STEPHAN RUSO/PA

    Andrew RT Davies, the Welsh Conservative leader, said: “I wish Mark all the best as he steps away from the helm.”

    “While we may have different views on Wales, I know my colleagues share enormous respect for his dedication to his work.

    “However, it is important that this announcement does not distract anyone from the really important work of helping the people of Wales. Labor politicians vying for the role of First Minister should not detract from this.”

    Roon ap Iorwerth, leader of Plaid Cymru, paid tribute to Mr Drakeford's “dedication to public life” and the “tone of his leadership”. ” during the pandemic.

    But he added: “When he took office, the First Minister spoke about the opportunities that leading the Welsh Government would give him.”

    “Unfortunately, these opportunities were missed, leading to longer queues, falling educational standards and a stagnant economy.”

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