Mark Drakeford: First Minister says Welsh Labour 'ready for general election'

Wales' First Minister didn't mention the Welsh Government's move to 20mph in most built-up areas in his speech. Credit: PA Images

Mark Drakeford has insisted his party are ready for a general election "whenever it comes" as Welsh Labour aim to wipe out the Tories at the ballot box.

Speaking at Labour's national conference in Liverpool, the First Minister of Wales said there should be no complacency going into next year's general election.

Welsh Labour have been in power in Wales, in various forms, since the start of devolution, but Mark Drakeford insisted his party have gone into ever Senedd election looking to earn every vote.

The biggest omission from the speech was any mention of the switch to 20mph in most built-up areas - a policy which the First Minister insisted will not cost Labour the next general election.

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford defended the policy Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Addressing delegates, Mark Drakeford MS said: "Labour in power in Wales is never satisfied. We never think the job is done.

"And we're never put off by the lies and the distortion of our opponents.

"Because conference, the desperation of the Tories knows no limits.

"While for us, there are no limits for what we could achieve with that partnership that Jo [Stevens] spoke about, a partnership between a Labour in Wales and a Labour Government in Westminster. "

He continued: "Conference, in Wales we are ready for that general election whenever it comes.

First Minister of Wales said there should be no complacency going into next year's general election. Credit: PA Images

"Our fantastic Welsh Labour candidates are ready from, Ynys Mon to Monmouthshire. They will provide a strong Labour voice along with our MP colleagues in that next Labour Government."

Notably absent was any mention of the Welsh Government's change to 20mph as a default speed limit in built-up areas.

The Welsh Tories have hit back at the First Minister, repeating their claim that the move amounts to a "blanket" policy, which the Welsh Government have always denied.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “Mark Drakeford boasted he was proud of his record, yet his flagship policies of blanket 20mph speed limits and creating 36 more politicians got no mention at all. 

It is estimated that the move will save the NHS millions of pounds per year. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

“Labour seem to have realised these vanity projects are hugely unpopular, yet they're imposing them on Wales regardless. 

“While they've been distracted by these vanity projects, Labour has cut the Welsh NHS budget and left Wales with longer waiting lists than England.

"The Welsh people have suffered the consequences of this mismanagement, yet Keir Starmer describes it as his “blueprint” for the whole UK.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…