Who Wants to be the Next First Minister? Jeremy Miles says public profile isn't key to getting votes

  • ITV Wales' Political Editor Adrian Masters asks Who Wants to be the Next First Minister?

The race is underway to become the next leader of the Welsh Labour Party and as a result, the next First Minister of Wales. Two candidates are vying for the top role but what makes them different and what would each of them do if they're successful?

It is Welsh Labour members who will vote for who they want to be their next leader but whoever wins will make decisions that affect the entire country.

Jeremy Miles MS, the Education Minister, is one of those in the running to become first minister. ITV Wales' Political Editor Adrian Masters sat down with him for a special interview to ask the question 'Who Wants to be the Next First Minister'?

Jeremy Miles was born in Pontarddulais, Swansea, and went on to study Law at New College, Oxford.

In a recent poll for ITV Cymru Wales, 3% of people asked thought Jeremy Miles should be the next leader of the Welsh Government, that is compared to 72% who did not know who should be the next first minister.

11% thought Mr Miles' rival for the job, Vaughan Gething MS, should be the next leader of the party.

Mr Miles said it is about more than just a public "profile" when it comes to the right person for the job.

He said: "I think what party members who are going to be casting their votes are looking for is a leader with vision, values and a clear sense of direction for the years ahead.

"Profile is one thing, it's important but it absolutely is not the thing that most people will be voting for and that's a good thing."

As Education Minister since 2021, Jeremy Miles has been responsible for driving the Welsh Government's education policies and strategies.

In December 2023, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) showed Wales is the poorest performing UK nation for reading, maths and science.

"We know that Covid had a bad effect on scores everywhere," he explained.

"But I've had a plan since I became [Education] Minister to focus on literacy and numeracy and that's happening - it just isn't happening in time for these results."

When challenged on the point that PISA scores were also poor before the pandemic, Mr Miles said "results were going in a positive direction before Covid" and he is "absolutely confident they will go in the right direction again".

In December 2018 Jeremy Miles was appointed Counsel General and Minister for Brexit. Credit: PA Images

On 20mph both Jeremy Miles and Vaughan Gething have pledged reviews of the policy introduced by the Welsh Government in September last year.

The lowering of the default speed limit, which the Welsh Government says was largely due to safety reasons, has divided public opinion.

However, Mr Miles stuck by the policy as "the right one". He added: "It's there to save lives and make our roads safer but what people are telling us is they don't understand why roads that they know are 20mph.

"So the review that I've promised will do two things - work with councils on the guidance but also listen to what people are saying to us and take that into account as we look at what roads have been designated."

He said he would not be scrapping the policy but would let public feedback "shape" the Welsh Government's response to the review.

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