VAUGHAN Gething has been elected as the next Welsh Labour leader and First Minister of Wales.

Labour members have chosen Mr Gething, 49, to be their next party leader, succeeding Mark Drakeford, who has held the position since 2018.

Mr Gething beat his only rival, the education minister Jeremy Miles.

The current minister for the economy, Mr Gething is expected to be declared the country’s fifth leader since the National Assembly for Wales, now called the Senedd, was established in 1999.

His appointment as Welsh Labour leader was announced on Saturday morning in a lecture hall at Cardiff University.

However, he will not take over as first minister until Wednesday – when a vote will be held in the Senedd.

North Wales Pioneer: Jeremy MilesJeremy Miles

The handover in power comes as Wales faces a challenging time, including farmers protesting, NHS waiting lists hitting record highs and an economy recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

Welsh Labour said Vaughan Gething achieved 51.7% of the vote compared to rival Jeremy Miles with 48.3%.


Mr Drakeford is not expected to stand down immediately, with his final first minister’s questions on March 19.

A vote will also need to take place in the Senedd at which opposition groups can put forward their own candidates.

With Labour the largest party, it is unlikely that any other group would take the role.

Addressing members of the Labour Party, new Welsh Labour leader Vaughan Gething said: “The first thing to do is to pay tribute to Mark (Drakeford).

North Wales Pioneer: Mark DrakefordMark Drakeford

“What is often said about Mark is he is a details man.

“But he was the right leader at the right time during the pandemic and it is true that we will be forever in his debt to his forensic approach to public policy.

“Not a lot is said about a heart that went into it to the deep and unwavering duty to defend Wales, as a community, as a people, as a family of families.”

Mr Gething added: “Today, we turn a page in the book of our nation’s history. A history we write together.

“Not just because I have the honour of becoming the first black leader in any European country – but because the generational dial has jumped too.

“Devolution is not something I have had to get used to or adapt to or apologise for.

“Devolution – Welsh solutions to Welsh problems – that’s in my blood. It’s what I’ve always known.”

Mark Drakeford, former Welsh Labour leader and outgoing First Minister, said: “I congratulate Vaughan on becoming Welsh Labour leader.

“He will provide the next generation of leadership for the party and I look forward to campaigning with him to deliver the UK Labour government Wales so desperately needs.”