Wales politics

Welsh Labour leadership: Most AMs back Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford
Image caption Mark Drakeford was the first contender to put his name forward

Mark Drakeford's bid to become the next Welsh Labour leader and first minister is now backed by a majority of the party's assembly members.

Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn and Alyn and Deeside AM Jack Sargeant became the 15th and 16th of Labour's 29 AMs to support him in his campaign to succeed Carwyn Jones.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething is the only other candidate with enough support to join the contest, with the backing of five of his Senedd colleagues.

The winner will be named in December.

Ms Blythyn hailed finance secretary Mr Drakeford as a figure who could "unite our party, empower our communities and connect our country" if he became first minister.

AM for Delyn since 2016, she said she had previously "witnessed first-hand Mark's commitment to fairness and real social partnership" while working in the trade union movement.

Mr Sargeant, the son of former minister Carl Sargeant, said he would back Mr Drakeford.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr Sargeant said: "I believe Mark will champion the need for a kinder politics that I have advocated and want to see since being elected to the Welsh Assembly."

Llanelli AM Lee Waters pledged his support for Mr Drakeford on Friday.

Image caption Vaughan Gething is the only other hopeful with enough support to get on the ballot paper

Three other AMs - Alun Davies, Huw Irranca-Davies and Eluned Morgan - have said they also want to stand for the leadership but have no declared supporters within the Labour group.

With Carwyn Jones having said he will not publicly support any candidate, there are only three remaining Labour AMs yet to reveal their preferences.

Prospective candidates need to be nominated by five Labour AMs other than themselves to get on the ballot paper.

For the first time, the Welsh Labour leader will be elected under a system of one-member-one-vote (Omov), after the dropping of the electoral college which gave more weight to the views of MPs, AMs and affiliated groups like trade unions.

More on this story