Who could be the next First Minister? Get to know the three main Welsh party leaders

With just weeks to go ahead of the Senedd Election, ITV Wales' Political Editor Adrian Masters sat down with the three main party leaders to find out what shapes the three politicians.

Candid discussions, honest anecdotes and rarely-heard insights about the next possible First Minister featured in the three interviews which aired on ITV Wales.

Adrian asked Mark Drakeford, Andrew RT Davies and Adam Price what made them, what motivates them and why people should vote for the on 6 May.

Growing up on a farm, Drakeford naturally has a love for the outdoors.

Mark Drakeford, Leader, Welsh Labour:

Since becoming First Minister and Welsh Labour leader in 2018, Mark Drakeford has become a familiar face on the big screen, fronting daily coronavirus briefings.

Growing up on a farm, he said he naturally has a love for the outdoors.

He recollected his time as young boy, milking cows on the farm. He said in a different life he would have loved to "work on the land."

In a different life I would have been very happy working on the land.

Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford told Adrian about another moment in history that shaped him - the miners strikes in the 1980s.

He described how the "awful scenes" he witnesses as a probation officer at the time shaped him as a politician.

He said: "Looking at those clips it is quite hard to recapture the strength of feeling and the bitterness of the time.

During his time as a probation officer Mark explained how he used to help "observe" picket lines.

He said: "I used to get up at 4am, we would observe what was going on and write reports about the way it was. They were awful, awful scenes."

"I also remember leaving the house to meet another group of people going for the first time knocking doors asking people to donate food because people are starving - and that is not an exaggeration. 

"I remember being so heartened every door we knocked on everyone went into the kitchens and found some tins and brought something.” 

He described it as a "cruel, deliberate destruction of communities and people's futures."

In his own time, Mark has a love for his allotment, singing and playing the clarinet.

Andrew comes from a farming and agricultural background

Andrew RT Davies, Leader, Welsh Conservatives:

Andrew Robert Tudor Davies has lead the Welsh Conservative party twice in the past - but is now determined to lead the country.

He joined the party in 1997 and was elected to Cardiff Bay in 2007. After becoming party leader in 2011 - 2018 he then returned in 2021 after a hiatus.

Andrew comes from a farming and agricultural background and said the BSE crisis in 1990 motivated him to get into politics. 

He told Adrian, “The community I cared passionately about was suddenly just cast aside with little or no thought at the time. 

“I can remember us going on a lobby mission to Westminster because obviously it was pre-devolution and it was a Conservative government running the country at the time. 

“I remember my wife saying instead of shouting at the TV - 'Why don’t you do something about it? And therefore I joined the Conservative party in 1997 when not many people were joining the Conservative party.” 

The farming man is also very open about living with dyslexia.

He is a trustee of a dyslexia charity that helps young people living with the learning difficulty like himself.

Hopefully by pointing out that I have got dyslexia I can be a role model and example to others.

Andrew RT Davies

When asked how much of a challenge it is for him, he said, “I was always reticent at first about speaking about my dyslexia because I looked at it wrongly and as a sign of weakness but as life has gone on and my public life has gone on, I looked at it as a point of strength.

"Hopefully by pointing out that I have got dyslexia I can be a role model and example to others.”

Andrew is proud about his educational background, having not gone to university.

He said, "I went to the university of life. I didn't sit in the common room debating politics instead it was blood sweat and tears delivering spuds to chip shops and garage forecourt, lumping it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

"That’s life, that’s getting dirt under your nails and knowing how the wheels of commons rotate.”

A pivotal moment that shaped Andrew's life was when his mother died when he was just 15 - a time he described as "very sad".

He said, "They were happy moments, but mother passed in a way that was very sad.

"I think it's appreciating life and making sure you live every moment you possibly can because it's so fragile. You never know when it will get taken from you."

Adam is the first openly-gay party leader in Wales' history.

Adam Price, Leader, Plaid Cymru:

Adam is the first openly-gay party leader in Wales' history.

The politician has gone from Member of Parliament to Member of the Senedd to party leader in the space of 20 years.

Brought up in a council house in a mining family, Adam was always adamant that he wanted a different life and to be the future first Prime Minister of an independent Wales.

Adam attributes his grounding and values to his mother who "gave her children the opportunity to realise their potential."

He explained how he was a sensitive child and is still an emotional person now.

Adam, who is for Welsh independence, has always been opened about his sexuality.

The father of one, explained to Adrian how the campaign against Section 28 shaped him as a person and politician.

Section 28, was part of the Local Government Act in 1988 when the government prohibited "the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities."

I was aware, personally, that I was gay. But even though I was on the march, I was in the closet.

Adam Price

He said it was a "homophobic and fearful time" for him.

He said, "I was aware, personally, that I was gay. But even though I was on the march, I was in the closet.

"I actually didn't come out to my mother and father until 1995. You know, I left it till Christmas Day, 1995.

"I was determined to come out on Christmas Day, and I left it till 10 minutes to midnight on Christmas Day, because I decided, I never wanted another Christmas, where I wasn't honest, to my parents about who I was, you know, the life that I was leading.

"And that was, that was a residue of Section 28 and the homophobia of the 1980s.”

Another key moment in Adam's past that shaped him as a person was - like Mark Drakeford - the miner's strike.

He explained how it was "the worst of times and the best of ways at times."

He said, "Seeing working class people during the strikes organising themselves, discovering talent of logistics.

"The organisation - it showed you the untapped talent in working class communities.

"It was a university of radical politics. It was a grounding for me really."


The Senedd Election 2021 is on Thursday 6 May.

You can watch the programmes in full with each leader here.

You can read all about the other parties running for control of the Senedd and their policies here.


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