Who will replace Mark Drakeford? Voting begins to choose the next Welsh first minister

ITV Cymru Wales
Only Labour members or part of an affiliated organisation, such as a trade union, can participate, meaning about 100,000 people can vote. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Welsh Labour members have begun voting for the candidate they want to succeed Mark Drakeford as the party's leader and the next first minister of Wales.

Jeremy Miles, the current Minister for Education and the Welsh language, and Vaughan Gething, the Minister for the Economy, are both vying to be in post with a result expected in mid-March.

Mark Drakeford, who has been first minister since 2018, announced his intention to resign late last year.

Jeremy Miles and Vaughan Gething are competing replace Mark Drakeford in the top job of Welsh politics. Credit: PA Images

Whoever is successful will become the fifth leader of the country since the Senedd was established in 1999.

Most people in Wales will not get a say in who will be the next first minister.

Only Welsh Labour members or people part of an affiliated organisation, such as a trade union, can participate, meaning about 100,000 people will have a vote.

Unlike previous Labour leadership elections, all the votes are equally weighted.

Jeremy Miles is supported by the majority of Welsh Labour Senedd Members.

Mr Gething has the backing of most of the large unions, and Lord Kinnock, who led the UK Labour party from 1983 to 1992.

There has been some controversy over Mr Gething receiving the backing of the Unite union, after his opponent was disqualified because he has never held "elected lay office as representatives of workers".

Mr Miles said it was "a new rule that no-one was aware of" and that members were unhappy.

But Unite said it had carried out the nomination process correctly and Mr Gething said it was up to the union to determine its own democratic processes.

Jeremy Miles put “sustainable economic growth” as his top priority, while Vaughan Gething's aim was “raising standards in education.” Credit: PA Images

Selection in the past has used an "electoral college" system, giving greater weight to MPs and Members of the Senedd.

Voting opened today (February 16) and the result will be declared on March 16.

Mark Drakeford is not expected to stand down immediately and his final first minister’s questions is expected on March 19.

A vote will also need to take place in the Senedd at which opposition groups can put forward their own candidates but are Welsh Labour the largest party in Wales' Parliament.

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