Jeremy Miles has enough endorsements to be balloted for next Welsh Labour leader and First Minister

Jeremy Miles is the Welsh Labour Government's Education Minister. Credit: Welsh Government

Another contender looks to have secured his place in the contest to replace Mark Drakeford as Welsh Labour leader and First Minister.

Jeremy Miles, Wales' Education Minister, has now received enough public endorsements from Senedd Members to be guaranteed a position on the ballot paper even though he hasn’t yet said that he will stand.

He's expected to announce that next week.

It means that he and Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, are confirmed as contenders when the election is held. Others are still expected to put their names forward too.

Jeremy Miles took over as the minister for education after Kirsty Williams.

This contest began when Mark Drakeford announced his resignation on Wednesday after five years in the top job.

Welsh Labour has yet to set out a timetable for the election although that decision is expected to be taken by this weekend.

The position is only open to Senedd Members and anyone wanting to stand has to secure the nominations of a five other MSs or a smaller number from Senedd colleagues if they also have nominations from affiliate organisations such as trades unions.

Jeremy Miles now has public endorsements from two Welsh Government cabinet members, Julie James and Lesley Griffiths, Labour’s Deputy Llywydd David Rees, and backbenchers Buffy Williams and Huw Irranca Davies.

Mark Drakeford will be standing down as Welsh Labour leader and First Minister of Wales in March 2024. Credit: PA

Those supporting Vaughan Gething are fellow cabinet ministers Rebecca Evans, Lynne Neagle and Dawn Bowden, along with backbenchers, Hefin David, Joyce Watson, Vikki Howells, Jayne Bryant and Ken Skates.

Jeremy Miles has also received endorsements from the leaders of Rhondda Cynon Taf council, Newport, Monmouthshire and Vale of Glamorgan along with two Labour Peers, Lord Peter Hain and Baroness Debbie Wilcox.

Vaughan Gething has won the public support of Labour frontbench MPs Chris Bryant and Nick Thomas-Symonds.

In these early days of the contest, these endorsements are seen as a crucial part of the campaign. They’re designed to send messages to the Welsh Labour members who’ll be voting in the new year about the kind of support each prospective candidate is believed to have among different groups within the party and across the country.

There’s still no official word yet from two others who have been expected to put their names forward, Health Minister Eluned Morgan and Social Partnership minister Hannah Blythyn.

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