Corbyn ally Mark Drakeford wins Welsh leadership election

Mark Drakeford has been elected the leader of Welsh Labour and will become Wales’ first minister.

The current finance minister fought off Eluned Morgan and Vaughan Gething to win by a clear margin.

Drakeford polled  47 % of votes in the first round and went on to win the 2nd round by a 12 point margin.

1st Round:

Drakeford: 46.9%

Morgan: 22.3%

Gething: 30.8%

2nd round

Drakeford: 53.9%

Gething: 41.4%

The election was conducted by one member one vote after a recent change in the rules for leadership elections. Welsh Labour previously elected their leader via the electoral college.

Drakeford’s victory will be seen as a victory for the left wing of the Labour Party. Drakeford supported Corbyn in both leadership bids and is seen as the most left-wing Labour AM and has campaigned on a promise of delivering 21st-century socialism.

Speaking to TPN, Daniel Metcalf, Chair of Preseli Pembrokeshire Labour Party, who voted for Eluned Morgan said:

Many will see this as a victory for the Corbyn supporters but it’s worth remembering that even before Corbyn rose to prominence, Mark was seen as a potential future leader. Someone with years of experience, he worked closely with former leader Rhodri Morgan to establish and promote “Clear Red Water”, ensuring the party would pursue socialist policies in Wales. I have met Mark on a few occasions, most recently through his involvement in the Welsh Labour democracy review. What I’m certain is that under his leadership the party with become more democratic, transparent and engaging with its members as we now enter the second stage of that review.

From next week, when Carwyn Jones will officially resign, Drakeford will take over running the Welsh assembly which has devolved powers in areas such as health, education, local government, transport and some taxes in Wales, among other areas of policy.

Drakeford set out plans during his campaign to deliver a number of new progressive policies including Social Partnership Act to protect employment rights and plans to establish a Community Bank for Wales. Drakeford also supports creating a publicly owned energy company in Wales.

The election started after Jones, who has led Welsh Labour since 2009, announced his intention to resign at the Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno in April 2018.

His announcement of his departure was precipitated by the death of his former cabinet minister, Carl Sargeant, who was found dead in November 2017, days after the first minister sacked him from his cabinet over allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women.

During April, Jones stated that he will stand down in autumn 2018, and as such he will continue to lead the party until then.

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