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Wales Corbyn supporter is the first candidate to stand for new Welsh Labour leader

JEREMY CORBYN’S highest-profile supporter in Welsh Labour’s assembly group today is the first candidate to put their name forward to become the new Welsh Labour leader.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said he had not harboured an ambition to be first minister but wants to continue the Welsh government’s “radical” tradition.

“I certainly had to think about it, because it’s an enormous job,” he said.

The 63-year-old told BBC Radio Wales: “I belong to the centre-left of the Labour Party.

“I think it is very important that strand in the party has a candidate who can put themselves forward, and that means that the many thousands of new members who we are lucky to have in the Labour Party will have a proper political choice in front of them.”

On Saturday Carwyn Jones shocked the Welsh Labour Party conference when he announced that he would stand down as leader in the autumn.

The 51-year-old said that it had been the “darkest of times” since communities secretary Carl Sargeant was found dead in November, days after Mr Jones had sacked him.

Mr Drakeford has already secured backing from senior Labour AM Jane Hutt, who said he would be a “blessing to Wales,” as well as assembly members Mick Antoniw, John Griffiths, Mike Hedges, Julie James, Julie Morgan, Rhianon Passmore and Jenny Rathbone.

Candidates need five nominations from AMs other than themselves.

Darren Williams, a member of Labour’s national executive committee who jointly founded Welsh Labour Grassroots, said: “I can think of no-one who would make a better Welsh Labour leader and first minister than Mark Drakeford.”

 

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