Mark Drakeford returns to Welsh Government duties following wife's sudden death

The First Minister has been on compassionate leave since his late wife died suddenly. Credit:

Mark Drakeford has returned to the Senedd chamber for the first time since the sudden death of his wife.

The First Minister faced questions from Senedd members, including extended questioning from opposition party leaders.

It comes after Mr Drakeford had been on compassionate leave from his role as the head of the Welsh Government since it was announced on 28 January that his late wife, Clare Drakeford, had died suddenly.

During the session, the Senedd's Llywydd (Presiding Officer) welcomed Mr Drakeford back on behalf of the Members of the Senedd.

He went on to be questioned about Wales' biggest health board, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, being placed into special measures once again, as well as youth employment, access to dental services and the phasing out of the Bus Emergency Scheme.

Mum-of-three Clare Drakeford was married to the Welsh Labour leader for a number of years and throughout his political career.

The funeral took place in Cardiff on Thursday 16 February.

Following the service, the First Minister tweeted to say that the past few weeks had been "incredibly difficult for our family", but added he was "grateful for the kind words of support".

Soon after Mrs Drakeford's death was announced, tributes poured in.

It was announced on January 28 that Clare Drakeford had died suddenly. Credit: PA Images

Leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer, tweeted: "I’m deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Clare Drakeford. On behalf of the whole Labour Party, I send our deepest condolences to Mark and all the family. They are all in our thoughts and prayers."

The Prince and Princess of Wales also paid tribute, to say they were "sending our thoughts and prayers to Mark Drakeford and his family".

In a statement at the time, a Welsh Government spokesperson explained: "It is with deep sadness that we confirm the sudden passing of Clare Drakeford, wife of the First Minister.

"The thoughts of everyone in the Welsh Government are with the family at this time and we ask that their privacy is respected."