Calls for stability from Mark Drakeford after Rishi Sunak wins Tory leadership

Watch the report by ITV Wales reporter, Hamish Auskerry.

Wales' First Minister has called on Rishi Sunak to work "constructively together" after it was announced he would be replacing Liz Truss as the UK's next prime minister.

Mr Sunak, a former chancellor, secured the keys to No 10 just seven weeks after he lost out to Ms Truss in a previous Tory leadership race.

He swiftly hit the threshold of 100 nominations from Conservative colleagues ahead of a deadline of 2pm on Monday, before commanding the public support of about half the parliamentary party.

Mr Drakeford called for cooperation from the new prime minister Credit: PA Images

Following Ms Truss' resignation, Mark Drakeford said a general election would be the "only way forward".

However, following the announcement Mr Sunak will be the next PM after he achieved the majority backing of Conservative Party MPs, Mr Drakeford took to Twitter to congratulate him in Welsh and called for "stability" and "cooperation" following a chaotic few weeks at Westminster.

He said, "The UK desperately needs a period of stability and cooperation to focus on the many challenges we face"

During Liz Truss' 44 days in office, Mr Drakeford did not receive a telephone call from the now former prime minister. He added, "I hope we're able to work constructively together to support people through these difficult times in a way that your predecessors didn't allow."

During the last leadership election, Rishi Sunak laid out his vision for Wales promising to 'level up' all parts of the country saying "Wales deserves better" and he wants the country to "thrive".

Writing for Wales Online, he said "We cannot operate a ‘devolve and forget’ mentality, operating as a funding mechanism for the Welsh Government and hoping they will fix issues on their own. Wales deserves better.

"I want Wales to thrive, and I promise that a government led by me would be the most active UK Government in Wales in history. I will reiterate that promise in Cardiff".

He also said he supports the Welsh Conservatives' call for a Wales Covid inquiry.

"During the pandemic, both administrations were keen to diverge where possible and to publicly say why they were proud to do so. It makes sense that the Welsh Government should be prepared to defend their actions to the Welsh Parliament."

Following Monday's announcement, Plaid Cymru renewed its call for a general election describing the process as the "antidemocratic nature of the Westminster system".

Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said, "The antidemocratic nature of the Westminster system has been laid bare for all to see. Rishi Sunak has no mandate, no legitimacy. Democracy demands a General Election.

"Rishi Sunak’s coronation may soothe the financial markets in the short term, but the Tory party is riven with factions who will be jostling for the upper hand at critical votes. More fundamentally, the chronic crisis and abuse of democratic legitimacy remain unresolved.

"He has no electoral mandate for the austerity measures he plans to inflict on public services, which are already close to buckling after twelve years of Conservative mismanagement."

Labour MP Chris Bryant described Mr Sunak as a "very wealthy man with no common touch".

Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies said he looks forward to working with the new PM Credit: PA Images

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies described Mr Sunak as a "friend of Wales" and that he "looks forward to working with him".

In a statement, he said,

“The Parliamentary Conservative Party has clearly shown their belief in Rishi Sunak to lead the Government, commanding the confidence of his colleagues.

“The Government has a clear agenda that it needs to get on with. The cost of living, the war in Ukraine and getting the UK onto the path of growth and opportunity after the COVID pandemic.

“I know that colleagues in Westminster will realise the real need to come together to deliver for the people of Wales and the United Kingdom.

“As a friend of Wales, Rishi understands the challenges we face, with high energy bills, high inflation, and household budgets being stretched to breaking point.

“I look forward to working with him to tackle those challenges.

“It should also be celebrated that, during Diwali no less, we are welcoming the UK’s first British-Asian and Hindu Prime Minister.

“I want to thank, on behalf of the Welsh Conservatives, Boris and Penny, who have so much to offer our party and our country going forward.”