MARK DRAKEFORD has issued what will be his last new year message as First Minister of Wales.

It was announced last month that Mr Drakeford would be stepping down as Welsh Labour leader.

As a result, he will no longer be Wales' First Minister from March 16, 2024 it has been confirmed.

There are only two contenders in the running to replace him as it stands, Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles.

Economy Minister Gething and Education Minister Jeremy Miles will go head-to-head for the position of Welsh Labour Leader.

With 2024 now upon us, Mr Drakeford has issued what will be his final new year message as First Minister.

He said on New Year's Eve: "Blwyddyn Newydd Dda. Happy new year to you all.  I hope you had a merry and peaceful Christmas. 

"As another year draws to a close and we get ready to welcome 2024, our thoughts naturally turn to the future. It is a time for making plans for the year ahead."

"For making new resolutions. And for thinking about changes to come."


Mr Drakeford added: "This will be the last new year’s message I make as your First Minister, as this year will signal a change for me personally. 

"But until that time comes, I will be focused on this job – delivering on the promises I made to you.  

"As the new year dawns, we hope for an end to the terrible conflicts and violence which have dominated this year and last, especially in Ukraine. 

"The fighting must stop in the Middle East. We have to redouble our efforts to find a pathway to a lasting peace, which is fair to both Palestinians and Israelis. 

"The new year is a new start and I’m sure we all have ambitions and hopes for the year ahead.

"Let’s hope for a peaceful 2024 and brighter and happier times ahead."