The Conservatives have said that Mark Drakeford would be a “caretaker first minister” if he wins the next Senedd election after he said that he would step down around the time of his 70th birthday.
The Senedd election after next is due to take place in May 2026 and Drakeford would turn 70 on September 2024, meaning that if elected next year he will not serve the full Senedd term.
“The people of Wales don’t need a caretaker first minister,” Welsh Conservative leader Paul Davies said. “We need someone who’s committed to the long term and I will give them that commitment.”
“He may not have the energy and determination to unleash Wales’ potential, but I do, and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to serve my country and implement a radical agenda to change Wales for the better.”
Plaid Cymru said that Wales did not need a “distracting internal Labour battle” in a few years and that “the current pandemic has taught us that leadership means seeing things through to the end”.
When he announced he was standing for the leadership of Welsh Labour in April 2018, Mark Drakeford said he would lead the party into an election before standing aside for a “new generation of leaders to put themselves forward”.
“My plan is, if I’m able to do it, I will lead the Labour Party in Wales into May’s election next year,” he told BBC politics today.
“If we’re successful I will form a government, I will serve as head of that government well in to the next Senedd term and then my plan will be to hand it on to somebody else in advance of an election.
“It will be time for somebody else to do this difficult and demanding job. As well as a job, it is a privilege to have had the opportunity to fill.”