Welsh leader Mark Drakeford to step down as first minister

LONDON (Reuters) – The leader of the devolved government in Wales, Mark Drakeford, said on Wednesday he would step down from the role after five years in office, in line with his previously laid out plans.

Drakeford has led the Welsh Government, which has responsibility for a limited number of devolved areas including health and education, as first minister since 2018, and said he would stand down as Welsh Labour leader in March.

He said he would remain in post as first minister and party leader until his successor was chosen.

“It has been a great privilege to serve as leader of this party. Together, we have achieved a huge amount over the last five years in some of the toughest times we have known,” Drakeford, 69, said on social media platform X.

Previously Drakeford was a probation officer, who had also served as a professor at Cardiff University before going on to become a Labour councillor in the 1980s.

“I wish Mark Drakeford all the best as he moves on from his many years of public service,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on X.

(Reporting by Muvija M, Editing by Alistair Smout)